Strong Motion

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Strong Motion
First edition cover
AuthorJonathan Franzen
Cover artistJacket design by Paul Bacon
CountryUnited States
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date
January 1992
Media typePrint (Hardback and Paperback)
Pages508 pp (first edition, hardback)
ISBN0-374-27105-4 (first edition, hardback)
813/.54 20
LC ClassPS3556.R352 S7 1992
Preceded byThe Twenty-Seventh City 
Followed byThe Corrections 

Strong Motion (1992) is the second novel by American author Jonathan Franzen.


Strong Motion was noted by reviewers for its impassioned social criticism, the thoroughness of its research, and its treatment of controversial themes such as abortion, feminism, corporate malfeasance, exploitative capitalism, etc.

Plot summary[edit]

Louis Holland arrives in Boston to find that a minor earthquake in Ipswich has killed his eccentric grandmother, triggering a struggle between him, his sister Eileen, and his mother Melanie over the disposition of a $22 million inheritance. During a visit to the beach, Louis meets Dr. Reneé Seitchek, a Harvard seismologist who believes she has discovered the cause of subsequent earthquakes in Peabody. Louis, Reneé, and the Hollands' affairs become entangled with the petrochemical and weapons company Sweeting-Aldren, as well as a pro-life activist commune called the Church of Action in Christ, headed by Reverend Philip Stites.

Critical reception[edit]

Reception to the book was mostly positive, with critics applauding its style, ambition, and riskiness; the New York Times described it as "the stuff of several books crammed into one long, dense narrative about contemporary urban America".[1] Negative criticism focused on a perceived lack of focus, and an attempt to interweave too many plot threads—the Los Angeles Times noted that "Franzen writes beautifully for the most part, though sometimes to excess".[2]

During an interview in 2015, Stephen King said that Franzen is one of his favorite novelists working today, particularly because of King's admiration for Strong Motion.[3]


  1. ^ Rubins, Josh (1992-02-16). "How Capitalism Causes Earthquakes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
  2. ^ Eder, Richard (1992-02-02). "Shaky Town East". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
  3. ^

External links[edit]