I caught the tail end of Jonathan Franzen's reading at Book Court last night, on my tip toes in the back of a gorgeously literary crowd of worthy Brooklynites. The reading was no where on my agenda, but Book Court is a few blocks from my apartment and I was able to bop in last minute, as really anything can distract me from what I really should have been doing-- laundry.
He spoke about the book's source (a woman he met for 10 minutes at a party), the blocks (quitting a novel two years into the process), the beauties (metaphors working to his advantage), the cerulean warbler on the cover ("A likely poster-bird," he called it) and Oprah (they are bff now). I could all but hear the many aspiring writers in that room lapping up his wisdom like milk, and the female audience members swooning in unison. That man is attractive, yes sirry.
Franzen's casual and somewhat self deprecating responses to audience questions were refreshing from someone I only assumed would be harsh and jaded in person. But--turns out-- he finds his own characters humorous and interesting, which actually shifted my view a bit on the exhausting unhappiness with which he tends to sculpt. The brutality of it all is funny in the end, and thank goodness for that.
Also, I just realized that Franzen will be reading at McNally Jackson tonight, a few blocks from my office. Is he following me!??! Wouldn't be surprised.