To keep piling on ironies: I know I’m not alone in my frustration with the Chicago P.S., because Jonathan Franzen, the author of the book I was supposed to receive, wrote an essay about the woes of the Chicago P.S. called “Lost in the Mail,” in which he says that the history of the Chicago P.S. “raises serious questions about the long-term viability of both the United States Postal Service and United States Cities."
He goes on to note that, “The inhabitants of large cities are now, more than ever, second-class citizens.” Amen to that. Franzen compares the rhetoric, i.e. the pattern of excuses, of the Chicago P.S. with the kind of double-speak that’s symptomatic of dysfunctional families, listing twelve different types of responses the Chicago P.S. has to criticism, including my favorite; “The people who get the most mail […] complain the most.”
My editor Mark Asch is finally, reluctantly sending The L’s “desk copy” of Freedom my way. I hope it gets here. [And I hope he sends it back. —Ed.] Mark surely deserves some sort of Editorial Mensch Award for dealing with all this—this isn’t the first time books sent to me have not arrived and so not the first time that Mark has had to inundate innocent and well-meaning publishers with communiqués that resemble telephone conversations between geriatrics who have only just discovered email: “Did you send it? Are you sure you sent it? It’s not there, can you send it again? Even if you already sent it, I’m asking you to send it again.”
So thanks Mark. A review of Freedom is forthcoming… hopefully.