Novelist Jonathan Franzen Heckled at Reading in Portland, OR

Jonathan Franzen James SpaderOn Thursday I went to a reading by author of The Corrections, and Freedom, Oprah-feuder, luddite and Time Magazine’s last “Great American Novelist,” Jonathan Franzen.

He read from a new piece he’s working on, a piece that consists wholly of footnotes on Karl Kraus, the Austrian satirist who Franzen relates to and calls “The Great Hater.”

Franzen spent much of the night comparing Kraus’ hatred for newspapers to his own hatred of technology, specifically Facebook, Apple, Twitter and Amazon.

Right after delving into why he dislikes Amazon (‘Like, half my friends own independent bookstores’), a woman who I assume was over 35 yelled, “I BOUGHT YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON!” 

Forget that he would hate being mentioned on a gossip website as much as Cobain would hate hearing his songs in Dr. Martens commercials, or having his diary published…

Jonathan Franzen Portland ORJonathan alienated everyone in the room, including head of Literary Arts Andrew Proctor and a teen from Franklin high school during the Q&A. (Managing to get heckled at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is no easy feat.)

He’s a highly intelligent man with a lot of interesting, thought-provoking things to say, but hearing him speak in that setting is a bit like watching Les Miserables on repeat.

Read: Bookmarks: Jonathan Franzen rips Amazon, praises obscure Austrian satirist at Portland Arts & Lectures

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