Los Angeles, CA--Author Jonathan Franzen and television personality Oprah Winfrey have written a book together, which is scheduled to be released next week in hardcover for $24.95. It will be available at all major bookstores but will not be promoted on Oprah's show because Franzen still won't agree to appear on Oprah.
The book is both fiction and non-fiction and is directed toward the small, highly critical, elite literary market and the large, uncritical, general reading public. Because Franzen and Winfrey could not agree on a title, a subject, a main character, a theme, a plot, or an ending, the book is called "The" and is somewhat of an interactive reading experience.
"We did number the pages, though," said Franzen. "We're not interested in mimicking that Latin American novelist who published a book with unnumbered pages."
"'The'" is wonderful!" gushed one literary critic after reading the advance proofs. "It is a fascinating exploration of timeless themes that should appeal to all questioning readers whose hearts are filled with love, hate, longing, melancholy, loneliness, and boredom. It speaks to the Everyman in every man and every woman."
Another critic commented, "Why do people feel they should get a complete book with a beginning, a middle, and an end for $24.95? I mean, you spend so much more buying a house, and the problems of home ownership never end. Why should a book be all nice and tidy?"
Franzen, who wrote the well-received and well-respected novel The Corrections, and Winfrey, who sprang to prominence in the movie The Color Purple, described their reasons for collaboration as follows: "money, prestige, attention, more book deals, more money, more prestige, more attention, more book deals...we're really very simple people with well-defined goals."