Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, August 15

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

Book Club
« Review: The Monster Variations by Daniel Kraus 20 Off of 20 »

On the Web Mon Dec 07 2009

Joshua Ferris on The Corrections

As is customary this time of year, publications are coming out with their "best of" lists, but with this year bringing the end of the decade near, there have been a slew of "best books of the decade lists" on which our current Book Club selection, The Corrections, features prominently. Back in September The Millions placed the book at #1 on their Best of the Millennium list (to some disagreement to their readers). Here, the Guardian reviews all those publishing smash hits and past Book Club selection author Joshua Ferris discusses what makes The Corrections so great:

It was merciless, it was skewering, the family at its heart full of bicker, betrayal, and many other varieties of familial sport - but the artist assembling and synthesising it all for the pleasure of the reader was possessed, thank God, of a voracious emotional intelligence, capable of mollifying all that was ugly and unlikable in his individual characters with empathy and humour. Oh, it's compulsive reading! The copy I have is a hardback containing 568 pages, and not one of them flags. The sentences are rollicking flickers of genius, one brilliant-dense paragraph meeting another, narratives vectoring into the outlandish and the unexpected while remaining ever committed to the realist's agenda. We might have forgotten, by the time the book landed, that a literary doorstopper of the first order of seriousness could also be unabashed entertainment. More likely Franzen simply knew that all comedy is deadly serious, and that the fraudulent online sale of post-Soviet Lithuania, for example, or a stolen salmon fillet sliding down the hero's underpants, was the low-brow fallout, the comic carryover, of a writer dividing the sadness of a declining family by the sadness of a declining culture. The book was a howl: against greed, against selfishness, against the axiom of American happiness, finally against the tyranny of family holidays.

Find out what else Johsua Ferris has been reading in his contribution to The Millions's Year in Reading.

GB store
GB store
Gapers Block presents Tuesday Funk, Chicago's ecclectic monthly reading series.
GB store



About GB Book Club

Book Club is the literary section of Gapers Block, covering Chicago's authors, poets and literary events. More...

Editor: Andrew Huff,
Book Club staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15