The Twenty-Seventh City by Jonathan Franzen

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25th Anniversary Edition
Picador Modern Classics

Published in 1988, Jonathan Franzen's The Twenty-Seventh City is the debut novel of a writer who would come to define our times.


St. Louis, Missouri, is a quietly dying river city until it hires a new police chief: a charismatic young woman from Bombay, India, named S. Jammu. No sooner has Jammu been installed, though, than the city's leading citizens become embroiled in an all-pervasive political conspiracy. Set in mid-1980s, The Twenty-Seventh City predicts every unsettling shift in American life for the next two decades: suburban malaise, surveillance culture, domestic terrorism, paranoia. A classic of contemporary fiction, The Twenty-Seventh City shows us an ordinary metropolis turned inside out, and the American Dream unraveling into terror and dark comedy.



About Jonathan Franzen

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Jonathan Franzen is the author of four novels (Freedom, The Corrections, Strong Motion, and The Twenty-Seventh City), two collections of essays (Farther Away and How to Be Alone), a personal history (The Discomfort Zone), and a translation of Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening, all published by FSG. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, California. Karl Kraus (1874–1936) was an Austrian satirist, playwright, poet, aphorist, and journalist. From 1899 until his death, he published the literary and political review Die Fackel.
Published November 5, 2013 by Picador. 532 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Crime. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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When we're with Jammu herself, the situation occasionally seems implausible, but the depictions of Probst and his family, his fellow St. Louisans (Franzen doesn't stint on minor characters), and their unraveling world carry through any weakness there.

Sep 01 1988 | Read Full Review of The Twenty-Seventh City

Publishers Weekly

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A ""sophisticated, funny [and] virtuoso"" debut, wrote PW of Franzen's novel of Midwestern city politics originally published in 1988.

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In this novel, Franzen first glimpses his plot, that small fertile plot that will sustain three more books: the psychosexual dramas of the nuclear family;

Nov 08 2013 | Read Full Review of The Twenty-Seventh City


In his impressive American zoo, Franzen has a cage for politicians: "American mayors fell into two distinct physical classes: sprawling endomorphs with loud personalities who could roll right over any opposition, and bland men or women with small, narrow builds well adapted to wriggling out of di...

Oct 17 1988 | Read Full Review of The Twenty-Seventh City

The Millions

What might it mean to say that his new novel, Freedom, finds him maturing?

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It's A Free Country

His 2001 novel The Corrections won the National Book Award and Freedom was named as one the best books of 2010 by Time, the New York Times Book Review, and Publishers Weekly, among publications.

Nov 21 2013 | Read Full Review of The Twenty-Seventh City

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