I was not expecting to enjoy Purity, given Franzen’s general reputation, and my expectations were fulfilled. It is, like a depressing number of so-called Great American Novels by Important (male) Writers, populated by men who cannot look at women without coveting and/or being disgusted by them, and who we are nevertheless supposed to sympathise with. (In this case at least one of them is a raging sex predator.) It’s also casually ableist and subscribes to a view of the world that is fundamentally gender-essentialist: I personally find it hard to engage with novels that are primarily interested in “the battle of the sexes” because inevitably they treat perceived differences between men and women (there are never any non-binary people in these novels, or if there are they are treated as aberrations and novelties) as innate and unsurmountable, which…is very not my experience in my relationships with men, and very not how I think of gender either.
This was not, in other words, my cup of tea. No proper review as per my “I have no fucks to give” policy.