The American Experience in 737 Novels
July 6, 2017 4:40 PM   Subscribe

"Now I wrote until near dawn, wanting a map of the literary nation, a beautiful evocation of how we are truly a nation of village and city and prairie and brownstone, of Rockies and bayous and mesas. Novels give to every reader someone else's home. Can we not see this—we of wonder and grievance?" There Are Riches Here, an essay by writer Susan Straight, introduces her map of American literature, the result of lifelong reading encounters with the literary geography of the USA.
posted by mixedmetaphors (8 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Excellent post, thanks!
posted by languagehat at 5:50 PM on July 6, 2017

Has Spoon River Anthology, seems legit.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:34 PM on July 6, 2017

Wow, this is really cool.
posted by suelac at 10:59 PM on July 6, 2017

Has Spoon River Anthology, seems legit.

Has Spoon River in totally the wrong place, seems not legit. That's the Salt Fork River and it's on the opposite side of the state.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 11:15 PM on July 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ed Gorman conspicuously missing from eastern Iowa. I remain dubious.
posted by epj at 12:12 AM on July 7, 2017

I'm kinda surprised Chicago doesn't include Nelson Algren's The Man with the Golden Arm.
posted by NoMich at 5:15 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hmmm. I don't think that The Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak is set somewhere between Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia, which is where she has it on the map. Which is too bad, because I would definitely read a book about "two people in comic rebellion against upper-class ritual in a place where they don’t fit" if it were set in that part of the world.

Anyway, this is great, and I love that she has some books that I'd expect and some that I wouldn't.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:56 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Over in west central Indiana is a dot for The Massacre at Fall Creek by Jessamyn West (not MetaFilter's Own™, the other Jessamyn West). But I think Straight (or whoever was responsible for the mapping) has misplaced it; the dot is on a Fall Creek in Indiana, but is a good distance away from the other, larger Fall Creek where the real-life incident upon which the novel is based took place.

Here's a contemporaneous New York Times review of The Massacre at Fall Creek.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:30 AM on July 7, 2017

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