#2 – Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen – 2022 Best Reads

Audacity. That’s the word that came to mind as I gawked my way through Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel, Crossroads. The man has no compunctions about burrowing straight to the heart of characters like a Navajo man wary of visiting do-gooders to the reservation and a mid-life woman trying to put together her previous life and her current reality as the wife of a Midwestern pastor.

You could say it’s the story of a family, told in almost 600 riveting pages. But it’s about more than that. It’s about the United States circa 1971 with all of its roiling contradictions. It’s about hubris and how hard it is to see ourselves clearly. And it’s a novel of faith–wanting it, giving yourself to it, and wondering if you can ever really have it at all.

You can read my full review here. I’m still not sure whether I’d call this a ‘good’ book, but it is a masterful work by a master of the form. I couldn’t help but recommend it. It’s #2 on this year’s list.

Franzen says this the first in a new trilogy that will carry us through the latter part of the 20th century. I’ll be looking for the next installment.

#3 – The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell

#4 – Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

#5 – Strangers to Ourselves by Rachel Aviv

#6 – Fatal by Kimberly Johnson

#7 – Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty

#8 – Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne by Katherine Rundell

#9 – A Place Like Mississippi by W. Ralph Eubanks

#10 – Shaking the Gates of Hell by John Archibald

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