Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jonathan Franzen and Peter Carey

Reading an article in New York Magazine about Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace (, I came across this mention of an encounter between Franzen and Peter Carey:

"He was sharing a stage with the Australian-born novelist Peter Carey, who had won the Booker Prize for Oscar and Lucinda. Franzen arrived in a college friend’s vintage Volvo in six-degree weather, with Wallace hitching a ride. “Carey arrived in a limousine from the Ritz.” The bookstore’s employees “had clearly never heard of me,” Franzen says. All of Carey’s books were on display, while a customer asking for Franzen’s previous novel was told to check the shelves under F."

Funny stuff!  It would be a different story now, of course, but it's still a wonderful scene to contemplate.


  1. Who is the Wallace-like character in Freedom mentioned in the article? Richard Katz?

  2. Ah. It is Richard Katz. Notice the copy of Christina Stead above Jonathan Franzen's head in the photograph?

  3. Oh, Richard is definitely based on Wallace, as is a comparable character in Eugenides MARRIAGE PLOT. Peter, did you see my Sep 2010 post on Freedo,, on my own "tropes of Tenth St" blog?

    Franzen's reading of Stead is a whole different kettle of fish I have not been antagonistic towards it as I have to think any publicity for Aus lit is good publicity, but I see her differently than Franzen does, though appreciating her nearly as much.