At Booth, Susan Lerner interviews Jonathan Franzen about a range of subjects including the influence of the YA novel, social media, and the different “forms of exploration” associated with essays and fiction. On the latter subject Franzen says:
I think fiction is the genre better suited to exploration. Essay is reporting, in a sense. There are artistic, tonal, and structural challenges in doing an essay but I don’t feel as if, in an autobiographical essay, I’m necessarily exploring… But for internal investigation there’s nothing like fiction, because you have so much more freedom to go to places that would be too personally compromising either for yourself or for other people.