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Jonathan Franzen in NYC on September 8

Some of will surely be otherwise occupied on Wednesday night (brisket, anyone? evening services?). But if you’re going to be in NYC and have been intrigued by all the attention going to Jonathan Franzen and his new novel, you may want to see the author himself at the Union Square Barnes & Noble.

As The Jewish Week has noted:

Jonathan Franzen is not Jewish. But his latest novel, “Freedom,” perhaps the most anticipated novel of the year, is chock full of Jewish characters. Centered on a mixed marriage between a Christian and a Jew, Patty Berglund is the Jewish half. Given Franzen’s penchant for superbly rendered characters, it’s no wonder that Patty seems an echt-upper class, secular American Jew. Or does she? There’s already been a fair amount of online chatter that Patty and, more importantly, about a family friend in the novel who is a prominent Jewish neocon, is more caricature than realistic character. Of the Jewish neocon friend, Franzen writes: “He spoke of the ‘new blood libel’ that was circulating in the Arab world, the lie about there having been no Jews in the twin towers on 9/11, and of the need, in times of national emergency, to counter evil lies with benevolent half-truths.”

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