Life After Publishers

Friday, November 23, 2012


As a newly minted editorial assistant at Norton, writer Tom Bissell was able to resuscitate an out-of-print novel called Desperate Characters by Paula Fox. In Bissell's new book, Magic Hours, he wrote about how, paradoxically, that experience shook his faith in publishing. Brooke talks Bissell about whether we as readers will miss the publishing industry, imperfect as it is, if it disappears.

Julian Smith - I'm Reading A Book


Tom Bissell

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [3]

Justein from New York

his claim isn't just inaccurate, it's patently false. Jonathan Franzen read "Desperate Characters" at Yaddo, which he mentioned in an Harper's essay which then - then! - tipped off Mr. Bissell. Interesting he should use the phrase, "What a self-promoting ass he could."

Dec. 16 2012 09:59 PM
Terry Brown

Dear Ellen,
I just heard the interview and thought the same thing until I realized that he must have been referring to the Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon.

Nov. 25 2012 05:01 PM
Ellen Gregory

I was listening with pleasure to Brooke's interview with Tom Bissell about the vagaries of literary immortality.

What a downer, then, to have Tom glibly compare the Book of Mormon to The Firm or Sidney Sheldon's collected works. I happen to believe that the Book of Mormon is sacred scripture. Tom surely wouldn't throw the Quran, the Torah, or other sacred texts into such a juxtaposition. Oh, no, because then he'd sound like a bigot. But apparently it's okay to bash Mormonism?

Nov. 24 2012 05:51 PM

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