Jonathan Franzen vs. Philip Roth: Battle of the Literary Novelists

By John Hendel

This fall brings us a battle of the white male literary novelists: Both Philip Roth and Jonathan Franzen have new books out.

The 77-year-old Roth—a winner of the National Book Award, the Pulitzer, and a perennial favorite for the Nobel Prize—has dominated the American literary world for 50 years. He released Nemesis last week. At 51, Franzen—also a National Book Award/Pulitzer-winner—recently became the first novelist in a decade to adorn the cover of Time magazine (with the label "Great American Novelist," no less) as part of the deluge of praise surrounding his fourth titanic novel, Freedom, published on August 31st. Both new novels have received high praise from the critical establishment, with a few notable exceptions.

Which new release is worth picking up? Consider here the relevant facts:

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