If Jonathan Franzen Had Entered the Contest

by Jonathan Franzen

Shouldering his bag, he walked downhill in the direction of sighing traffic and came eventually to a long bridge leading over to the center of American world domination. He stopped near the center of the bridge, looked down at a female jogger on the creek-side path far below, and tried to evaluate, from the intensity of the photonic interaction between her ass and his retinas, how good a day to die it really was. The height was great enough to kill him if he dove, and diving was definitely the way to do it. Be a man, go headfirst. Yes. His dick was saying yes to something now, and this something was certainly not the wideish ass of the retreating jogger.

Had death, in fact, been his dick’s message in sending him to Washington? Had he simply misunderstood its prophecy? He was pretty sure that nobody would miss him much when he was dead. He could free Patty and Walter of the bother of him, free himself of the bother of being a bother. He could go wherever Molly had gone before him, and his father before her. He peered down at the spot where he was likely to land, a much-trampled patch of gravel and bare dirt, and asked himself whether this nondescript bit of land was worthy of killing him. Him the great Richard Katz! Was it worthy?

He laughed at the question and continued across the bridge.

This is the story of the Berglunds, their son Joey, their daughter Jessica and their friend Richard Katz. It is about how we use and abuse our freedom; about the beginning and ending of love; teenage lust; the unexpectedness of adult life; why we compete with our friends; how we betray those closest to us; and why things almost never work out as they “should.” It is a story about the human heart, and what it leads us to do to ourselves and each other.

Click on the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.

1 comment:

lucinda said...

I was reading the first graph and thinking, "Pretty good. Sounds like Franzen." Then I looked at the author name and then da book cover, which I read. And then I thought 'No, no way.' Then I thought, "Oh, why not?" It's actually pretty funny. Not the piece just the dare.