Meet the family at the center of Jonathan Franzen's new trilogy
Jonathan Franzen has been examining the inner workings of family units — the more toxic, the better — for decades. He won the National Book Award for The Corrections, his novel about a troubled Midwestern couple and their adult children, back in 2001 and now he's releasing what he describes as his "magnum opus." Crossroads will be the first volume of the trilogy A Key to All Mythologies, and EW is offering up an exclusive clip of the audiobook, read by David Pittu.
In it, we meet the Hildebrand family, living in a Chicago suburb in the early 1970s. Patriarch Russ is an associate pastor in the local church struggling with his lack of professional upward mobility and a very strong desire to have an affair with a widowed parishioner. His wife is Marion, a once-aspiring actress with a troubled past she's kept secret from most of her family. Their children are Clem, a college student whose obsession over the Vietnam War draft threatens his would-be happy holiday homecoming; Becky, a popular high schooler dabbling in the church's youth ministry; Perry, who is dabbling in drugs and alcohol and more drugs; and Judson, the youngest, most innocent member of the clan.
The first novel follows the family through a year in their life as they deal with marital strife, adolescent strife, young adult strife, and more (this is a Franzen story, after all). The full audiobook will be available starting on Oct. 5, but you can preorder it here.