A panoramic vision of America at the beginning of the 21st century, seen through the turbulent lives of the Lambert family.
Although she would never admit it, Enid's husband, Alfred, is losing his grip on reality. Maybe it's the pills that Alfred takes for his Parkinson's disease, or maybe it's his negative attitude, but he spends his day brooding in the basement. Trouble is also brewing in their children's lives. Gary, a wealthy banker and seemingly happily married, is disaffected and a bit too fond of his drink.
Chip, after a disastrous entanglement with a female student, has had to leave his prestigious job as professor at D College, and is penning a screenplay of dubious worth. Denise's life is spiralling out of control as her romantic affairs catastrophically implode on her career as a well-known chef in Philadelphia. As Alfred's condition worsens, one question obsesses Enid.
Will all the family spend Christmas together? The sense of urgency mounts as all the family members are caught up in the maelstrom of their mid-life crises, their love-affairs, their faltering careers. Long-buried secrets are unearthed and memories of the past feed into their ever-shifting relationships.
Through this unparalleled description of family life, Franzen opens up a tremendous vista of a brash American society at the beginning of the twenty-first century. From foreign policy and healthcare to gated communities, from restaurant critics to workers on the freight trains, this is a panoramic vision of growing old and being young in America. At once comic, tragic, satirical, lyrical, and full of suspense, The Corrections emerges as a truly great American novel.