IT’S NOT A SURPRISE that essayist Tom Bissell is a friend of author Jonathan Franzen. The Underground Literary Alliance exposed abuse of the grants system by Franzen back in 2002. The question is whether Tom Bissell became friends with Jonathan Franzen before or after Bissell misportrayed the Franzen grants controversy in his Believer essay on the ULA, since reprinted in Magic Hours.
Tom Bissell could’ve changed that misportrayal before Magic Hours came out. We’re left with lit-world cronyism at its worst.