Speaking of Jonathan Franzen, the insufferable drip's new book gets a right padding by James Wolcott in The New Republic.
Jonathan Franzen has the knack to annoy. Is it a conscious gift? Is he aware of how grating his pleaful moans and hopeful sighs have become? (It's like a snore turned inside out.) Or is he intentionally irritating us, passive-aggressively wearing down his readers' resistance until we finally crack and agree with what he thinks and, more importantly, how he feels? How he felt in the 1990s was melancholy. The country was partying, but he was gnawing on a dry bone. He evokes his sunken condition with a litany of "d" words: darkness, depression, despair ("My despair about the American novel began in the winter of 1991...").
In "Books in Bed," a roundup of sexual how-to guides that elicits the coy admission "I have no objection to a nice bra, still less to being invited to remove one" (down, tiger), Franzen again fidgets to set himself slightly apart. "The last thing I want is to be reminded of the vaguely icky fact that across the country millions of other people are having sex," he writes, horrified by all that humping going on down along the railroad shacks.