Jennifer Weiner are Jodi Picoult are among writers who are critical of the mainstream US media's coverage of Jonathan Franzen's yet-to-be-released novel, Freedom. Franzen, whose previous novel, The Corrections, which I enjoyed very much but did not review anywhere, stirred up some ill-will when it was chosen as one of Oprah Winfrey's Books of the Month. When the Winfrey TV crew showed up to do a profile of Franzen, the author balked at the endorsement and was critical of how Winfrey's producers wanted to present him and his work. The substance of this wave of backlash again Franzen is not so much against him, but against the perception of sexism, and perhaps racism, in the laudatory coverage in Time and The New York Times. Picoult, whose Tenth Circle I thought was quite interesting, went so far as to bash the Times for its overemphasis on "white male literary darlings." Fascinating developments, and ones that are likely to turn more and more unpleasant as the release date approaches. Do we still agree that there's no such thing as bad publicity?
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by Mark Hayes