Jonathan Franzen’s first novel in six years is coming next year.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux will publish Franzen’s Crossroads, the first volume in a planned trilogy called A Key to All Mythologies, the publisher said in a news release.
The novel, set in 1971, follows a Chicago family whose members each seek “a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate.
“By turns comic and harrowing, a tour-de-force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, Crossroads is the first volume of a trilogy, A Key to All Mythologies, that will span three generations and trace the inner life of our culture through the present day,” the publisher said. “Jonathan Franzen’s gift for wedding depth and vividness of character with breadth of social vision has never been more dazzlingly evident than in Crossroads.”
The novel will be Franzen’s first since Purity, which was released in 2015.
Franzen has been one of the country’s most famous, and most polarizing, literary figures of the century. He became a household name after the success of his 2001 novel, The Corrections, and was part of a de facto group of literary novelists that critic Charles Finch calls “the Jonathans,” whose novels were marked by “affluent, melancholy whiteness.”
Franzen’s sometimes cranky observations on a series of topics including birds (he loves them), e-books (he hates them) and cats (he really hates them) have made him a popular target among Twitter literati.
Whether Franzen can still dominate the bestseller lists remains to be seen, but we’ll find out next October, when Crossroads is slated for publication.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.