Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
It's 23rd December 1971, and the Hildebrandt family is at a crossroads. Patriarch Russ, the associate pastor of a suburban Chicago church, is poised to break free of a marriage he finds joyless – unless his brilliant but unstable wife, Marion, breaks free of it first. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college afire with moral absolutism, having taken action that will shatter his father. Clem's sister Becky, long the social queen of her high school class, has veered into the era's counterculture, while younger brother Perry, fed up with selling pot to support his drug habit, has firmly resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate. In turns comic and harrowing, this novel of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense is the first volume of a trilogy that will span three generations and trace the inner life of modern culture through to the present day.