Note that no one came to the defense of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections on my "Monster Franzen" post analyzing it below. No one who blurbed it, or bought it, or continues to laud it like the hapless fellows at n+1. I even got fairly specific (no "broad brush," Gessen), simply by returning to literature's roots. As I also was specific about the failings of James Wood, another papier mache idol of the literary establishment.
The truth is that The Corrections was never a very good novel, not even when everyone in litdom was raving about it. They were either captives of mass hallucination, or obediently following the crowd. ("Am I supposed to like this book?") One can believe that most of those who bought the novel never read it-- but it did look impressive for a season on their affluent coffee tables. Those who did read it are those who see Literature as a Duty. They painfully improve themselves by accepting the painful burden of Culture. It's what good people do; a regretful necessity like going to the dentist, or having a face lift. They punish themselves for their crap bourgeois lifestyles by reading a crap bourgeois book.