Book Club

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

We’re on hiatus until September, but will return reading Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads (both evening and morning groups!)

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.

It’s December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless―unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who’s been selling drugs to seventh graders, has resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate.

Jonathan Franzen’s novels are celebrated for their unforgettably vivid characters and for their keen-eyed take on contemporary America. Now, in Crossroads, Franzen ventures back into the past and explores the history of two generations. With characteristic humor and complexity, and with even greater warmth, he conjures a world that resonates powerfully with our own.

A tour de force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, its action largely unfolding on a single winter day, Crossroads is the story of a Midwestern family at a pivotal moment of moral crisis. Jonathan Franzen’s gift for melding the small picture and the big picture has never been more dazzlingly evident.

In case you missed Mount Carmel Book Club meetings, or perhaps you’re looking for some reading recommendations, check out the list of books below that we read from September 2021 to June 2022! All books are available from booksellers and your local library.

Year of WondersGeraldine Brooks

Tattoos on the HeartGregory Boyle

Learning to Pray: A Guide for EveryoneJames Martin, SJ

EvictedMatthew Desmond

The Lincoln HighwayAmor Towles

The Life You Save May Be Your OwnPaul Elie

The Remains of the DayKazuo Ishiguro

River of FireSister Helen Prejean

HamnetMaggie O’Farrell

American DirtJeanine Cummins

Via NegativaDaniel Hornsby

A MercyToni Morrison

Mariette In EcstasyRon Hansen

Lit: A MemoirMary Karr

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