Oprah and author bury hatchet

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BOOKS -

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

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