…there is such a lot of plot to get through, all told in a restrained sober prose at a steady tempo which aspires to the dispassionate, objective rhythm of Tolstoy, but which in reality becomes a little too leisurely as the beat of the book gets steadily more soapy
But Franzen, judging from the evidence of this novel, doesn’t want to be Jane Austen; he wants to be Tolstoy. Courtship and marriage comprise only a part of his book. […] Freedom’s ambition is to be the sort of novel that sums up an age and that gets everything into it, a heroic and desperate project.
The novel could be retitled The Trouble with Freedom.
But stop with the complaints! The point to remember is that Freedom is big enough and thoughtful enough to engage and irritate an enormous number of readers…
Easy to hate and as easy to read, Franzen excels at writing big novels about little people. Freedom is impeccably constructed, and inexplicably hollow.— Lily Power