Oprah and author bury hatchet
CHICAGO: Oprah Winfrey and author Jonathan Franzen have put their rocky past behind them.
Franzen appeared on Monday’s The Oprah Winfrey Show embracing his host after she chose his best-selling novel, Freedom, for her book club. Winfrey did not have Franzen on her show nine years ago when his previous novel, The Corrections, was picked for her book club, because he had called some of her choices “schmaltzy”.
Winfrey said on Monday she didn’t have Franzen on her show then because she hadn’t wanted want him to feel “uncomfortable”.
Franzen, 51, who is widely regarded as one of his generation’s leading fiction writers, was branded a snob for the comment even though he apologised quickly and repeatedly.
“I spoke in very long sentences, and then little pieces of those sentences sounded bad, and your feelings were probably, understandably, hurt,” Franzen told Winfrey on Monday.
He also told her he considers himself a “Midwest egalitarian” and not a snob.
“My idea of the book I want to write, the book I want to read, is one that everybody can find a way to connect to,” Franzen said. “That’s really what I’ve devoted my whole career to.”
The pair discussed Franzen’s writing process, how he started writing Freedom and his visit with President Barack Obama.
“Bottom line is, I’m happy to have you,” Winfrey said.
“I’m happy to be here,” Franzen replied.
Winfrey said in September that she read Freedom after Franzen sent her a copy during the summer with a note. She said she considered it a “ tour de force” after the first chapter and called it a “masterpiece”.
Released in late August, Freedom was virtually canonised by critics before publication and has topped best-seller lists. Franzen was the subject of a Time magazine cover story, titled “Great American Novelist”.
On the same show, Winfrey announced that her latest book club selection would be a combination of two Charles Dickens classics, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.
Winfrey said she “must shamefully admit” she had not read Dickens before. – Sapa-AP