Following a storm of online buzz and predictions, Oprah Winfrey selected Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom" as her latest Book Club pick today on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Franzen's "Freedom," the award winning author's fourth novel, generated massive critical praise before its release just over two weeks ago, on August 31. Calling the novel an "indelible portrait of our times," Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times wrote:
"Jonathan Franzen's galvanic new novel, "Freedom," showcases his impressive literary toolkit -- every essential storytelling skill, plus plenty of bells and whistles -- and his ability to throw open a big, Updikean picture window on American middle-class life."
The book is an unlikely choice for Oprah after selecting Franzen's "The Corrections" and then uninviting the author from the Book Club in 2001. However, the Oprah-Franzen controversy did not stop massive speculation on the web that "Freedom" would be Winfrey's next pick.
The Associated Press reported yesterday that Winfrey selected "Freedom," "according to three booksellers" whom all "asked not to be identified." Following a string of predictions and buzz on the internet, including stories from Publishers Weekly, The New York Times, and Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times shrewdly noted:
"But in fact, no one has been able to get confirmation from either Oprah's team nor Franzen's publisher."
Today, on her show, however, Winfrey confirmed the rumors: "Freedom" will join the club that Time Magazine called:
"not so much a club as a ruthlessly influential marketing vehicle, with the power to fundamentally alter best-seller lists, Amazon rankings and royalty payments."