Americans abroad

In “Everything Is Not Illuminated,” an essay in this month’s Forward, Joshua Cohen dismisses works from expat writers, including Gary Shteyngart,* Jonathan Safran Foer, and Arthur Phillips:

[O]utsiders toting backpacks and wielding Platinum Plus cards aren’t the right kind of outsiders for literature. They’re a Mercedes-length from the edge, and literature needs someone on the precipice. It’s dangerous on that precipice, but the danger, well, illuminates the prose. And there’s no more of that danger left in this Europe, once again at the edge of Empire.

(Link via Arts Journal.)

* In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a Shteyngart fan. And you would be, too, if you saw the man read. So I can’t really get on board with the whole article, even though I understand where Cohen is coming from.


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