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Wallace, Franzen, and the Truth in Non-Fiction

Jonathan Franzen said at the New Yorker Festival that David Foster Wallace made stuff up in "Shipping Out", which is better known as the titular essay in the non-fiction collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. Now, an initial read on the situation is that, because he’s a quantifiably worse writer than Wallace (by -97.333%), Franzen seems intent on subtly trashing the man’s legacy whenever it’s convenient. That was my first (incorrect, uncharitable) thought. I don’t think that’s exactly what he’s doing, though it’s hard to imagine the scene going any differently than:

—The Corrections is going to be a TV show. Ohbytheway, David Wallace made up a lot of stuff in his non-fiction. I’m going to fuck so many couches with my TV money.

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