Number of pages: 510
I wasn't entirely sure what to think of this book at first, as it seemed quite slow-moving and long-winded, telling about minutiae details of everything that happened to the characters, as well as talking in detail about their feelings.
The whole story revolves around an extended family, with each chapter focusing on a different character or characters and seemed to almost form a self-contained story in itself. I found some of the chapters more interesting than others, like the story involving Chip falling in love with one of his students and ending up having an affair with a married woman.
The overall story arc seemed to about how the parents, Alfred and Enid, wanted to get the whole family to come to their house for Christmas. I did find myself warming to the characters after a while, although it felt like a bit of a struggle to read at times, especially as it seemed to be full of very long paragraphs (and sentences).
I noticed that the story tackled a lot of issues; a lot of them were about characters having affairs, but also there seemed to be a lot of weight put on the subject of ageing, and health - for example, Alfred has parkinsons and appears to also have dementia (he hallucinates a lot and gets very confused).
I was satisfied that I did read this, and it was a reasonably enjoyable book; very sad towards the end, too. I'm not sure if I'd read other books by Jonathan Franzen though, as they also sound like quite heavy going.
Next book: Evil Star (Anthony Horowitz)