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Maybe so, but when you correct certain problems in the postmodern novel--its cartoonish characters, its repetitive paranoia and absorption in Big Patterns--you get a better book. The Corrections does not "solve" the mystery of family life, but it renders its mysteries with the fine filament and moral nuance they require. There are already an impressive 90,000 copies in print. While that's not quite John Grisham territory, Franzen has so far made more than a million dollars. This could be another reason why he's feeling optimistic about the literary novel these days. He may be right that serious fiction has not gone the elitist route of chamber music. But what happens to The Corrections in the marketplace is going to tell us just how big a sound it can still make.