Enid Lambert is terribly, terribly anxious about her husband, Alfred. Maybe it's the medication that he takes for his Parkinson's disease, or maybe it's his negative attitude, but he spends his days brooding in the basement and committing shadowy, unspeakable acts. More and more often, he doesn't seem to understand a word Enid says. Trouble is also brewing in the live of Enid's three grown children. Her older son, Gary, a banker in Philadelphia, has turned cruel and materialistic. The middle child, Chip, has quit his exciting job as a professor at D---- College and moved to New York City, where he seems to be pursuing a "transgressive" lifestyle and writing some sort of screenplay. Meanwhile the baby of the family, Denise, has escaped her disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain of an affair with a married man -- or so Gary hints. Enid, who loves to have fun, can still look forward to a final family Christmas and to the ten-day Nordic Pleasurelines Luxury Full Color Cruise that she and Alfred are about to embark on. But ever these few remaining pleasures are threatened by her husband's confusion and unsteadiness. As Alfred's condition worsens, the Lamberts mush face the failures, secrets, and long-buried hurts that haunt them as a family. Stretching from the Midwest at mid-century to Wall Street and Eastern Europe in the age of globalized greed, Jonathan Franzen's keenly awaited third novel brings an old-time America of freigh
(Fiction, 2001) Franzen's novel revolves around the troubled lives of the Lamberts who are getting together for "one last Christmas" as the family patriarch is showing signs of dementia.