You don’t have to work in publishing to enjoy Jonathan Galassi’s debut novel, Muse, a story that draws a lot from the writer’s own experience. Galassi is the publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux and the author of three poetry collections. In his time at FSG, he has ushered some of the most esteemed writers into the literary landscape, including Jonathan Franzen.
There are plenty of recognizable characters in Muse, including Paul Dukach, an editor who appears to share a resemblance with Galassi. But Galassi also has a clear love of words and the types of people, both publishers and authors, who are behind them. He’s concerned with the “romance of reading,” as he writes in the book, and those who “were loyal to their own sometimes twisted yet settled natures, modern in the old-fashioned sense.”
Salon sat down with him in his sunny, spacious Manhattan office to discuss publishing, past and present.