I had absolutely no idea what to expect of Purity. The blurb made it sound very exciting – the title character, also known as Pip, doesn’t know who her father is, and gets the chance to find out through becoming involved with a charismatic celebrity – a whistleblowing, Julian Assange-type character.
Sounds intriguing enough!
Having finished it, however, I probably won’t read it again. It was densely written – I do enjoy a book that takes me longer than a day to finish! – and detailed; similarly to Beauty Is A Wound, Franzen takes the time to explore each character, and each thread of the story in its fullness, which I appreciated. However, I found the prose a little dry, and ultimately the pace of the narrative suffered a bit, in my humble opinion. I thought that some of the salaciousness was a little gratuitous, to be honest, and I also get the impression that I might have enjoyed it more if I was more knowledgeable about politics and economics – so if you are, it’s definitely worth giving it a go!
One thing I liked, though, was the way the author used a (frankly improbable) story to prompt some food for thought. He drew some really interesting comparisons between the age of the internet, and the socialist regime in East Germany as was – the relationships each of the different characters have with communication, secrets and technology are fascinating. It didn’t feel preachy, either, which makes for a more pleasant read.
So overall, an intelligent book, good bang for your buck… but ultimately not really my thing.