Cross My Heart
Jonathan Franzen in conversation with Preben Jordal
“What a fucking family”
It’s the 23rd of December 1971, and the Hildebrandts are falling apart. All its members each have their own thoughts, dreams and problems, yet struggle to be taken seriously as their own persons. They keep secrets from each other, masking their selfishness with cherry-picked Bible passages and well-meaning but naïve social work, all in the belief that they are good people. But what does it mean to really care about others?
With Crossroads, Jonathan Franzen again proves he belongs in the USA’s uppermost class of authors, and as champion of the psychological ensemble-novel. With this rich family portrait, Franzen depicts a changing America. The country that (for many) lost its innocence during the Vietnam War, is here the subject of many games of tug-of-war; between religion and moralism, war and pacifism, uniformity and diversity. In what is the first novel in a trilogy, Crossroads is heavy with societal as well as personal depth, and is lauded by critics as perhaps his best book yet.
To converse with Franzen, we have literary critic, translator and acting chairman for the Norwegian Critics’ Association, Preben Jordal. He has followed Franzen’s authorship with enthusiasm and relish since the latter’s breakout success The Corrections in 2001, and has himself translated Franzen’s collection of essays The End of the End of the Earth (2018). Now, he will meet Franzen for a conversation on Crossroads.
The conversation will be in English.