A great American writer's confrontation with a great European critic - a personal and intellectual awakening. A hundred years ago, the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus was among the most penetrating and prophetic writers in Europe: a relentless critic of the popular media's manipulation of reality, the dehumanizing machinery of technology and consumerism, and the jingoistic rhetoric of a fading empire. But even though his followers included Franz Kafka and Walter Benjamin, he remained something of a lonely prophet, and few people today are familiar with his work. Thankfully, Jonathan Franzen is one of them. In 'The Kraus Project', Franzen not only presents and annotates his definitive new translations of Kraus, with supplementary notes from the Kraus scholar Paul Reitter and the Austrian writer Daniel Kehlmann. In Franzen Kraus has found his match: a novelist unafraid to voice unpopular opinions strongly, a critic capable of untangling Kraus's often dense arguments. Painstakingly wrought, strikingly original in form, 'The Kraus Project' is a feast of thought, passion and literature.
Praise for Freedom: 'Deeper, funnier, sadder and truer than a work of fiction has any right to be' Independent on Sunday 'Head and shoulders above any other book this year: moving, funny and unexpectedly beautiful. I missed it when it was over' Sam Mendes, Observer, Books of the Year 'A cat's cradle of family life, and if the measure of a good book is its afterburn, 'Freedom' is a great book' Kirsty Wark Observer, Books of the Year 'I loved 'Freedom'. His acute observations of emotional faultlines, his dialogue and above all his wry humour are delightful' Antony Beevor, Sunday Telegraph, Books of the Year 'Franzen pulls off the extraordinary feat of making the lives of his characters more real to you than your own' David Hare, Guardian, Books of the Year 'No question about it: 'Freedom' swept everything before it in intricately observed, humane, unprejudiced armfuls. There was no novel to touch it in 2010' Philip Hensher, Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year 'By the end of 'Freedom' you may feel you understand its protagonists better than you know anyone in the world around you' Nicholas Hytner, Evening Standard, Books of the Year 'The novel of the year. Its portrait of a marriage, luminously and wittily drawn against a backdrop of modern America, is as good as literature gets' Sarah Sands, New Statesman, Books of the Year