Walnut Surprise

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Second band from of main character Richard Katz from the 2010 novel Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. After The Traumatics break up, Katz forms this alt country band; teaming up with a young fan who plays pedal steel guitar.

The rest of the story of what Richard was doing that winter and spring has been told elsewhere, notably in People and Spin and Entertainment Weekly after the release of Nameless Lake and the emergence of a “cult” of Richard Katz. Michael Stipe and Jeff Tweedy were among the worthies who came forward to endorse Walnut Surprise and confess to having been longtime closet Traumatics listeners.


  • Richard Katz
  • Tim, drums
  • ?, pedal steel guitar

Richard Katz has an affair with his best friend Walter Berglund's wife Patty at a lake house called "Nameless Lake," which then becomes title of Walnut Surprise's first album. Nameless Lake gets a Grammy nomination and sells several hundred thousand copies thanks to it being played on NPR. Much to Katz's confusion and disapproval.

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