Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Uncorrections

Here's an interesting cock-up. The printed version of Freedom, Jonathan Franzen's follow-up to The Corrections, is wrong. It was taken from a previous edit and contains hundreds of mistakes, mostly typographical, we're told, but some affecting characterisation. For a perfectionist like Franzen this must be close to calamity.

As it happens, I must have one of the affected copies, because I bought it the day it came out. The publishers are offering free exchange, including payment of postage, but I'm left wondering - which copy would I prefer to have, the final version or a rogue version? I suppose there's also the prospect of having a curiosity like those postage stamps that get printed with the Queen's head the wrong way round and become worth a fortune. That won't be the case with Freedom, I don't suppose, because we're talking about thousands of copies so there won't be much rarity value. It also feels somewhat philistine to be talking about the book in these terms rather than its literary merit. But nonetheless, I think I prefer the idea of having a slightly wrong version of the book, and so I'll probably keep it.

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