Jonathan Galassi, president and publisher of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, described "Purity" as a multigenerational American epic that spans decades and continents. The story centers on a young woman named Purity Tyler, or Pip, who doesn't know who her father is and sets out to uncover his identity. The narrative stretches from contemporary America to South America to East Germany before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and hinges on the mystery of Pip's family history and her relationship with a charismatic hacker and whistleblower.
Like Mr. Franzen's best-sellers "Freedom" and "The Corrections," which have each sold well over a million copies, his new novel tackles big themes like sexual politics, love and parenthood. But the novel also marks a stylistic departure for Mr. Franzen, Mr. Galassi said."There's a kind of fabulist quality to it," he said. "It's not strict realism. There's a kind of mythic undertone to the story."