While Franzen follows a very periodical timeline in parts of Purity I felt a stronger connection with his characters, Tom and Annabel when he told their story in reverse. Starting with their divorce and the problems they struggle with as a couple felt very vulnerable and raw. The intensity of their passion in the woods intermingled with their problems was very real and I felt connected to them. This juxtaposed with the story of how they met including the descriptive details of their first kiss and initial emotions and thoughts towards each other made me feel sad knowing how their love story would end.
Even though the timeline is out of order I still believe Franzen follows his “realist” style in his writing. While humans are always in the present living day by day, the past crosses our minds daily. Thinking about past relationships, fond memories, not so great memories etc. is a very real and natural thing to do. By telling the love story of Tom and Annabel out of order it reminds the reader of the forever lingering of love and the complications that arise when love remains but people move on.