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Mr. Difficult

Mr. Difficult

A podcast about Jonathan Franzen.


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Latest Episodes

In part two of our conversation about Crossroads, we’re joined by New York Times national correspondent Ruth Graham to discuss Jonathan Franzen’s depiction of faith and Christianity, the novel’s titular youth group, and where we think the trilogy is ... more

14 days ago

In this episode, Erin, Alex, and Eric are joined by critic Merve Emre and poet Elisa Gabbert to discuss Jonathan Franzen’s sixth novel, Crossroads. The first in a planned trilogy titled The Key to All Mythologies, it represents perhaps Franzen’s most... more

a month ago

In this episode, Erin, Alex, and Eric are joined by novelist Rumaan Alam to discuss Jonathan Franzen’s fifth novel, Purity. Everyone agrees that this book is an insane mess, but this episode dares to ask: Is it also a good book? And—even bolder—does ... more

2 months ago


4.9 out of 5 stars from 36 ratings
  • The (non-)problem of easy-to-listen podcasts

    It’s hard to give five stars to a podcast whose subject is a congenital three-star reviewer, but it’s a winning production on par with a shambolic Richard Katz bootleg. The decision to begin each episode with a power ranking of Franzen canon was inspired, as was the choice to prepare thoroughly but speak unrehearsed for emotionally immediacy (eg searching for pages during recording to make “sentence-level” commentary). If you’ve ever wanted talking heads who care if Lethem is more/less interesti... more

    Apple Podcasts
    United States3 months ago
  • Awesome

    My first Franzen was Purity. Looking forward to episodes on his non-fiction. Thanks for putting this together.

    Apple Podcasts
    Guy Gallo
    United States3 months ago
  • Finally!

    This podcast is /actually/ good! Hosts are smart and insightful, widely-read, and engaging. I desperately hope that, after they've milked all the episodes they can from Franzen's body of work, they continue making content for book nerds. There are so few podcasts about literature and book culture—especially contemporary literary fiction—worth listening to. Please don't stop at Franzen!

    Apple Podcasts
    United States3 months ago
  • Must listen for Franzen lovers and haters

    Get hyped for his latest novel with this intelligent and hysterical look back at Franzen’s novels. Thank you to this podcast for ensuring I never waste my precious time on earth on his first two. This podcast is so good.

    Apple Podcasts
    United States3 months ago
  • Amanpour & Co.

    October 4 Ep! Franzen’s reaction to being asked about your pod was great (and I’m sure he’s getting similar questions during the Crossroads press cycle). Great job on the smart timing of this, and keep up the good work!

    Apple Podcasts
    United States4 months ago

Apple Podcasts Charts

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Mr. Difficult launched 4 months ago and published 8 episodes to date. You can find more information about this podcast including rankings, audience demographics and engagement in our podcast database.

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