Strong Motion: A Novel

Strong Motion: A Novel

Jonathan Franzen

Language: English

Pages: 528

ISBN: 031242051X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Louis Holland arrives in Boston in a spring of ecological upheaval (a rash of earthquakes on the North Shore) and odd luck: the first one kills his grandmother. Louis tries to maintain his independence, but falls in love with a Harvard seismologist whose discoveries about the earthquakes' cause complicate everything.

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Because I’m not going to be able to help you, and so you might as well get it over with.” Melanie turned her head to one side and narrowed her eyes, exactly the way her son sometimes did. “Is something wrong? Is this not a good day? Oh dear!” She leaned across the table. “You’re looking so unhappy. Was this not a good day?” Renée returned her spoon to its original position. “I’m not unhappy.” “You think I have no personal interest in you. You think I took you to lunch to cajole you into

IS RENÉE SEITCHEK. I’M GOING TO INTERVIEW MYSELF.” Stites stepped in front of her, grabbing for the megaphone. “That’s not yours, Renée.” She dodged him. She backed up the sidewalk, keeping him in view. “MY STATEMENT,” she said. “SINCE YOU’RE ALL SO INTERESTED. MY STATEMENT IS I JUST HAD AN ABORTION.” She stepped off the curb. “FIRST QUESTION: WHAT ELSE—” A car honked. “WHAT ELSE CAN I TELL YOU? “ANSWER: MY ADDRESS IS NUMBER 7 PLEASANT AVENUE, SOMERVILLE. MY TELEPHONE NUMBER IS 360–9671. MY

The drab crowd was herding itself towards rows of function-room chairs set up facing a lectern and a grand piano on which a Japanese man with expressive shoulders and a ponytail had begun to play the Pachelbel Canon. Louis’s father, with his academic’s respect for lecterns, had already taken a seat. Eileen stood hugging Peter’s chest. And a tableau presented itself: Mr. Aldren leading Melanie away, his elbow linked with hers, and Melanie not needing to be led but walking with him as naturally as

question, not only for the press but for the EPA, the thirty thousand traumatized and outraged residents of Zones I and II, the citizens of Boston, and all Americans as well was: What did the management of Sweeting-Aldren have to say? And it was on Monday afternoon, when the question had become inescapable, that the press discovered that there was literally no one around to answer it. Sweeting-Aldren’s corporate headquarters, situated, as it happened, just west of Zone II, had been gutted by a

which Maple-Tree Girl is pursued by a rug merchant with immoral aims through the great Wuhan flood of 1931, eleven stupendous minutes of this chaste beauty staggering through ever deeper and dirtier water and more menacing locales, clutching her rent garment to her throat, her round eyes radiating unmodulated terror and anguish for the entire fifteen thousand frames. In the mid-forties, Miss Chun and a director old enough to be her father lived in fashionable exile in Singapore and ate up the

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