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The Discomfort Zone by Jonathan Franzen Fourth Estate, £16.99

Jonathan Franzen was not abused as a child. His family was not poor. He has not suffered from either alcoholism or drug addiction. Yet he has written a memoir. Why? The question is an odd one and Franzen has resisted answering it in interviews. It is a peculiar feature of the present that memoirs have become a vehicle only for expurgating grief and trauma. Franzen is a writer—the author of three novels, most notably The Corrections—and in this book, like many writers before him, he has turned his sensibility, intelligence and…

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