August 12th, 2006


John Leonard reviews Nell Freudenberger

In the current Harper's, John Leonard reviews a few books. The review of Nell Freudenberger's The Dissident ends:
Freudenberger won the PEN/Malamud Award for her story collection, Lucky Girls. She has taught English in Bangkok and New Delhi, and volunteered for humanitarian organizations in Asia. By looking at L.A. through Chinese eyes, she achieves something of the odd, off-balancing effect of Jonathan Franzen's Indians in St. Louis in The Twenty-Seventh City. Although the stranger is a mirror, what we see is still make-believe and copycat. Nevertheless, for all its many interesting pages, The Dissident feels unfinished. It feels, in fact, like two different scaffolds leaning on each other just to stand up.
Does anyone know what those last three sentences are supposed to convey?