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This new book by Jonathan Franzen, sigh, is terrific. In fact, “Crossroads” is one of his best, overflowing with family crisis, morality, mundanity — a nearly 19th century potboiler of ordinariness, across 600 pages, set in suburban Chicago. It is the first of a trilogy saddled with a weighty title: “The Key to All Mythologies,” itself a nod to “Middlemarch.” It is, in other words, that most ...

NONFICTION: Three union workers whose factory closes illustrate the challenges for America's blue-collar workforce. "American Made" by Farah Stockman; Random House (418 pages, $28) ——— In 1997, when the Red River Valley overflowed its banks and flooded most of Grand Forks, North Dakota, I watched then-President Bill Clinton give an empathetic speech to flood victims at an Air Force base ...

FICTION: Religious idealism confronts a fractured family in Jonathan Franzen's sprawling new novel. "Crossroads" by Jonathan Franzen; Farrar, Straus & Giroux (592 pages, $28) ——— Even with God on their side, the Hildebrandt family at the center of Jonathan Franzen's intermittently powerful new novel are far from redeemed. They live in the Chicago suburb of New Prospect, which despite its name ...

CHICAGO — Dawn Turner describes the Bronzeville of the 1970s as neither here nor there, as an electric, crumbling nexus, that rare Chicago neighborhood where circumstance and destiny could go either way. She grew up here, in this “cradle” of the Great Migration, once the home of both Ida B. Wells and Richard Wright, arguably still the “epicenter of Black business and culture” in Chicago, a ...

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