Nominated by:

Bibliotheek Gent, Belgium

Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli - Vittorio Emanuele III, Italy

Biblioteca Vila De Gràcia - Biblioteques de Barcelona, Spain

Miami-Dade Public Library System, USA

San Diego Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Fourth Estate, UK

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, USA

Purity

Jonathan Franzan    

Pip Tyler doesn’t know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she’s saddled with student debt and a reclusive mother, but there are few clues as to who her father is or how she’ll ever have a normal life. Then she meets Andreas Wolf internet outlaw, charismatic provocateur, a man who deals in secrets and might just be able to help her solve the mystery of her origins.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Jonathan Franzen was born in 1959 and is the author of five novels – The Twenty-Seventh City, Strong Motion, The Corrections, Freedom, Purity, – a collection of essays, How to Be Alone, a memoir, The Discomfort Zone and a translation of Spring Awakening, and most recently, The Kraus Project, a translation and consideration of Karl Kraus’s essays. His honours include a Whiting Writers Award in 1988, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, the American Academy’s Berlin Prize in 2000, and the National Book Award in 2001. He writes frequently for the New Yorker, and lives in New York City.

Librarians’ Comments

Purity is a complex novel about a girl in search of her father, idealism, the death of privacy and the dangers of social media.

The story of a young woman, searching for herself, for her identity, for reasons to be in the world. A brilliant and sensitive tour-de-force into the globalized, complex and intertwined world inside and outside.

Purity is the name of one of the central characters in this novel and our less than pure society. Purity called “Pip” is a recent college graduate with all today’s common clichés: clever, ambitious, fatherless, aimless, and debt-strapped. Her relationships, both professional with her boss and familial with her parents are damaged by less than pure causes such as manipulation, deceit, power, and the internet’s invasion into her privacy. The result of these “impurities” is an overlying feeling of anxiety of what is coming and of what we think we know. This story conveys the idea that the more we think we know about others, the more we really need to know about ourselves. I nominated this novel because it gives the reader who may think he is different from everyone else an opportunity to realize his similarity.

An epic novel that is both sweeping and highly personal taking on themes such as personal and national identity as well as the bounds of privacy. All strands of the story are engagingly woven together in this very modern portrayal of a woman trying to find her father while she flees as far away as possible from her idiosyncratic mother.

Purity is a daring and penetrating book. A complex and clever story, but with freshness of tone and touch.

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