Great Britain

Jonathan Franzen says he was ‘the second most-hated person in America’ after Oprah row

American novelist Jonathan Franzen has reflected on the impact of his book The Corrections, as it reaches its 20th anniversary.

The novel received critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize, as well as winning the 2001 National Book Award for Fiction.

However, speaking to The Guardian, Franzen recalled the uproar he sparked after snubbing Oprah Winfrey when she selected The Corrections for her book club.

At the time, Franzen expressed ambivalence at his work being chosen because he viewed past selections as “schmaltzy”. His public remarks prompted Winfrey to disinvite him from her show; the pair ended their feud over a decade later.

In the interview, he describes being “the second most-hated person in America for a few weeks” and recalled a New York Times opinion page containing two articles, “one about evil Osama bin Laden and a piece on how terrible I was”.

Nine years after the fallout, in 2010, the pair reconciled when Franzen published his next novel, Freedom, which Winfrey picked as her first Oprah Book Club selection.

Franzen’s new book, Crossroads, will be released by HarperCollins on 5 October.

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