Jonathan Franzen’s photo fountain of youth


By Carmen Comment

So as is my habit, I check the New York Times’ website around 7 PM in the evening, which is when they refresh the books section. And while Michiko Kakutani’s review of Jonathan Franzen’s slim memoir THE DISCOMFORT ZONE is same old, same old, what jumped out at me was Franzen’s current author photo (right). Because it looks awfully, awfully similar to the infamous snapshot that adorned the back cover of 2001’s CORRECTIONS (left).

How can that be? Well, it helps that both shots were taken by Greg Martin, who’s no stranger to the author photograph. Though unavailable for comment as of this writing, I can’t help but wonder why Martin decided to go back to the same photographic well for Franzen redux – perhaps since it proved so successful (and controversial) the first time around, another go-round couldn’t hurt?

(Ron asks if those are new frames, because they kinda look like new frames; they look mostly the same, but maybe the ovals are just a smidgen smaller, or maybe Ron’s just imagining things. Also, he misses that little inkling of a New Wave swoop over Franzen’s forehead. But the smile is nice; Franzen should smile more often!)