The Discomfort Zone is Franzen's memoir of growth from his boyhood as a "small and fundamentally ridiculous person," through an adolescence both excruciating and strangely happy, into an adult with embarrassing and unexpected passions. It's also a portrait of a Midwestern middle-class family weathering the turbulence of the 1970s and a vivid personal history of an America turning its back on a certain idealism.
JONATHAN FRANZEN grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author of three novelsThe Twenty-Seventh City, Strong Motion,
and The Corrections
and a collection of essays How to Be Alone
. His honors include a Whiting Writers Award in 1988, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, and the National Book Award (for The Corrections
). He has been named one of "Twenty Writers for the 21st Century" by The New Yorker
, for whom he frequently writes, and one of the "Best Young American Novelists" by Granta. He lives in New York.