Monday, 20 June 2011


In a family of cat lovers, it's hard to express anti-feline feeling; so I much enjoyed being able to read aloud a passage from Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom" to the family during our holiday (on which Thomas even brought along his cat). The riff comes towards the end of this marvellous book, where our hero, Walter is seen as "a nutcase and a menace" for wanting to protect the songbirds around the lake - where his family have been coming over generations - from the domestic pets brought in by the households in the new development, Canterbridge Estates. "The older cat owners on the street did politely accept the [coloured neoprene cat] bibs and promise to try them, so that Walter would leave them alone and they could throw the bibs away."

Franzen's gift is to be able to see the funny side of any serious argument. And so the book cavorts along through its nearly 600 pages treating all manner of particularly green issues in a highly entertaining way. I enjoyed it even more than his earlier masterpiece, "The Corrections".

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