It’s Franzen’s Time

The New York Times reports this morning that Time magazine will feature a living novelist on its cover for the first time in a decade. The living novelist: Jonathan Franzen (second from left), author of The Corrections, and its forthcoming long-awaited follow-up, Freedom. Undoubtedly, some literary whiners will be angry. (See the comments section on the Times ArtsBeat page or our own recent feature for evidence.) Particularly annoying is the sincere deadpan on Franzen’s glasses-framed mug, as if he’s spent the past twenty odd years not writing novels, but posing in preparation for this inevitable coronation.

Personally, I think Time can do whatever it wants. Magazines shouldn’t be afraid to have opinions, or spark public depate. And in these difficult times for literature, a major mainstream magazine featuring a novelist on its cover feels like a quiet coup. Also, it’s a great screw you to Jonathan Safran Foer! I would advise Franzen to chill out, though. As my mother used to say, would it kill you to smile?

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