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by Jonathan Franzen

The author of Freedom has written a grand work for our ethically complicated times.

Pip Tyler, the little girl, has no idea who she is. She's aware that her true name is Purity, that she owes $130,000 in school loans, that she's squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her connection with her mother, her sole family, is fraught with danger. But she has no idea who her father is, why her mother decided to live as a hermit behind an alias, or how she would ever lead a regular life.

The Germans have arrived. A chance meeting with a German peace campaigner leads Pip to an internship with The Sunlight Project in South America, an organization that trades in all the world's secrets, including, Pip hopes, the mystery of her beginnings. Andreas Wolf, a dynamic provocateur who gained to popularity in the mayhem following the collapse of the Berlin Wall, is the brains of TSP. Andreas, now on the run in Bolivia, is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn't understand, and her strong reaction to him challenges her preconceived notions of right and evil.

Purity is a sweeping tale of teenage idealism, great loyalty, and assassination. The author of The Corrections and Freedom has created a world filled with vividly unique characters - Californians and East Germans, good parents and bad parents, journalists and leakers - and follows their intertwined paths through landscapes as modern as the ubiquitous Internet and as ancient as the gender war. Purity is one of the most audacious and profound books written by one of our generation's most important writers.

Our thoughts on Purity

Our favourite quote from Purity

Stupidity mistook itself for intelligence, whereas intelligence knew its own stupidity.

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Stupidity mistook itself for intelligence, whereas intelligence knew its own stupidity.

— Jonathan Franzen, Purity