The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Phee-hew, this one almost killed me. After "The promise of happiness", my tolerance for dysfunctional "3-kids & a shaky marriage" family sagas was already on the low side. And bamm, this mofo throws dementia, depression and incredible emotional cruelty (Read this on the bus to and from work, I can't guarantee I didn't curl my upper lip every 10 pages or so, wrinkle my nose and mutter "wedding rings, pick axes, potato, potah-to" under my breath) at me in a 500+ page hurricane. Lots of dialogue without finding the words, meaningless walks to nowhere, fights at the dinner table, messed up parent-child expectations, trivial middle class suburbia - in a merciless onslaught.
I thought about giving up. I didn't, but it didn't end a moment too soon. Note to self: no more Franzen whilst taking public transportation on rainy mornings. Not that it wasn't very well written. Small excerpt:
She shrugged into her jacket, lifted her bag, and waltzed across the room. At the door she announced in a general way that she was leaving. "I'll see you later," she said, almost looking at Chip. He couldn't figure out if she was immensely well adjusted or seriously messed up. He heard a cab door slam, an engine rumble. He went to the front window and got a glimpse of her cherrywood hair through the rear window of a red-and-white cab. He decided, after five years without, that the time had come to buy some cigarettes.
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