'freedom' is an amusingly 'hip' novel.

I’ve roughly 150 pages to go, and, thus far, as far as I remember off the top of my head after midnight on a Friday night (Saturday morning), Franzen has mentioned Natalie Portman, Blackberries, texting v. e-mailing and how Blackberries basically mean e-mailing = readily accessible = fancy upgraded sort of ‘texting,’ and Bright Eyes.  And not only did he mention Bright Eyes, he expounded upon Bright Eyes via Walter Berglund for a good, solid page or two.

As expected, Franzen surprises me with the extent to which I absolutely loathe and detest his characters.  The one redeemable soul in this dramatic cast is Richard Katz, and, even then, I wonder if that isn’t merely because he’s a rock star or if it truly is that he is likeable, even when taken away from the context of a high-strung, overwrought, drunk-on-self-pity-and-self-righteousness bunch of neuroses.  Nonetheless, despite loathing them all, I cannot stop reading, and it isn’t that I’m four hundred pages in and must complete the novel for the sake of the time and effort I’ve thus invested, but that, truly, Franzen has a way with words and dismantling the despicable aspects of humanity and laying them out to make you wonder, Is this just the way you choose to present the world, or is mankind truly this damnable?