William Gaddis

Impact Man
September 21, 2010

Freedom By Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 562 pp., $28) A few years ago there appeared in The New York Times a profile of a Manhattan environmentalist who became known as No Impact Man. No Impact Man—his real name was Colin Beavan—had set himself the goal of radically reducing his family’s carbon footprint for a year: no paper products, no food that came from farther than a 250-mile radius of New York City, no fuel-consuming transportation.