News & Opinion | July 7, 2018 9:00 am

Jonathan Franzen Is Not Angry—Really—That the Internet Turned On Him

Controversial author shrugs off production halt of Showtime's adaptation of his fifth novel.

Jonathan Franzen
Jonathan Franzen, bestselling American author of Freedom and The Corrections, at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. (David Levenson/Getty Images)
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Two weeks after Jonathan Franzen finished the final script for Showtime’s adaptation of his fifth novel, Purity, he got the call that production had been halted. Then Daniel Craig, who had been tentatively cast to star in the show, called to say he had been summoned to do another James Bond movie and wouldn’t be able to fulfill his role, though the “entire experience had been extraordinary.” But maybe that’s for the better, Franzen mused to the New York Times.

“You have to remember what a partisan of the novel I am,” he said to the Times. “And that it had long been one of my ambitions to have my novels defeat all attempts to put them on the screen.”

Franzen has recently been facing backlash, including from Victoria Patterson in the the Los Angeles Review of Books, who said his depiction of Edith Wharton was “so mean-spirited and off-key that I tossed and turned.” The famous author has also been ridiculed on Twitter through hate-pieces, mean hashtags, and nit-picking of his every quote. Sales of his novels have decreased since The Corrections came out in 2001, but even though his latest novel didn’t sell as well, Purity was called “consuming and extraordinarily moving” by the Los Angeles Times. But Franzen claims he is okay with all the enmity. He told the L.A. Times that “people can think something about you that isn’t true, and it isn’t necessarily your job to correct them.”