Top 30 Jonathan Franzen Quotes

Fiction is a solution, the best solution, to the problem of existential solitude.


Every good writer I know needs to go into some deep, quiet place to do work that is fully imagined. And what the Internet brings is lots of vulgar data. It is the antithesis of the imagination. It leaves nothing to the imagination.


It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.


Patty believed that parents have a duty to teach their children how to recognize reality when they see it.


The personality susceptible to the dream of limitless freedom is a personality also prone, should the dream ever sour, to misanthropy and rage.


An odd thing about beauty, however, is that it’s absence tends not to arouse our sympathy as much as other forms of privation do.


Reading enables me to maintain a sense of something substantive– my ethical integrity, my intellectual integrity.


[P]art of having a complicated mind was understanding its limits, understanding that it couldn’t think of everything. Stupidity mistook itself for intelligence, whereas intelligence knew its own stupidity.


Nice people don’t necessarily fall in love with nice people.


Their marriages had been Old Testament, hers a matter of honoring her covenant with Charles, Tom’s a matter of fearing Anabel’s wrath and judgement. In the New Testament, the only things that mattered were love and free will.


[H]er mind was like a balloon with static cling, attracting random ideas as they floated by[.]


the weekly thirty minutes of sexual stress was a chronic but low-grade discomfort, like the humidity in Florida


The madness of an autumn prairie cold front coming through…ringing throughout the house was an alarm bell that no one but Alfred and Enid could hear directly.


When I’m writing I don’t want anyone else in the room – including myself.


What lived on-in me- was the discomfort of how completely I’d outgrown the novel I’d once been so happy to live in


There’s hardly anybody who doesn’t hate somebody now, and nobody at all whom somebody doesn’t hate.


You thought you knew what food was, you thought it was elemental. You forgot how much restaurant there was in restaurant food and how much home was in homemade.


She pondered the arrangements of the paintings on a wall like a writer pondered commas.


It’s nice to be able to control my smell environment, and I can hear myself think better when it’s quiet. It wasn’t easy to become a person who’s OK being alone on a Saturday night, but I did the work, I got there…


In terms of having an experience, seriously contemplating a murder was almost as good as going through with it, and it had the added benefit of not entailing risk. Between prison and no prison, no prison was clearly preferable.


In Technology We Trust. Need to put that on the new hundred-dollar bill.


It was a way of recognizing places of enchantment: people falling asleep like this.


Only in a crowded, diverse place like New York, surrounded by strangeness, do I come home to myself.


The mark of a legitimate revolution – the scientific, for example – was that it didn’t brag about its revolutionariness but simply occurred.


He was certifiably insane, an Ayn Rander who fancied himself an Übermensch and “the Singularity’s chosen avatar,


Pip wondered what the secret was of being different in a way that attracted people, as opposed to her own way.


Brooklyn was like Philadelphia made better by its proximity to Manhattan.


And yet the feeling of injustice itself turned out to be strangely physical. Even realer, in a way, than a her hurting, smelling, sweating body. Injustice had a shape, an a weight, and a temperature, and a texture, and a very bad taste.


It’s healthy to say uncle when your bone’s about to break.


there are few things harder to imagine than other people’s conversations about yourself.



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