He Made It Up: Franzen on Wallace
October 12, 2011 § 7 Comments
Let us state up front that people are already questioning Franzen’s reliability here, and David Foster Wallace is not around, sadly, to defend his record. So we do not offer this up as necessarily true, but rather as an interesting moment in the ongoing discussion of “truth as best effort to be factual” versus “truth as metaphor.” Plus, the full exchange in The Awl would make a delightful one-act play, entitled perhaps, “For Instance, Yeah. Facticity…”
Remnick: Well, I was, I was fascinated to hear… that there are some people in this world who feel that it’s o— that to have a kind of hyper-postmodern view of nonfiction/fiction questions, that it’s all writing, and that questions of fact, facticity and, well, that’s kind of square and old-fashioned, and it’s okay that Kapuscinski does what Kapuscinski does and kind of makes this up because it’s really just a metaphor fo Poland itself. And other writers that one could name who have a different view of fact and fiction… You’re pretty strict about the dividing line. You see, you think that somebody who’s—
Franzen (interjecting): [unintelligible]
Remnick: — allegedly writing nonfiction and cheats it—
Remnick: —is cheating the reader, is somehow in a way that should be kind of like admitting a false —
Franzen: David and I disagreed on that.
Franzen: Dave Wallace, yeah.
Remnick: So Wallace felt well—
Franzen: Yeah, cause he—
Remnick: He said it was okay to make up dialogue on a cruise ship?
Franzen: For instance, yeah. Uhhmmm…
Remnick: I’m heartbroken to hear it.
Franzen: I know, I know.