Though born and raised in the United States, I recently found myself asking whether I’m an American writer. I concluded that, based on my approach to fiction and despite having been born here, I am absolutely not an American writer. American writers, with few exceptions, believe you need to get to the point. I’m not sure where this belief comes from. Perhaps it comes from some innate sense of competitiveness (of which I’m distinctly lacking), one that compels American writers to strive to get their work in the hands of as many digitally distracted, career obsessed, rat-race mired wage slaves they can. This also might explain the ubiquitous and maddening question asked by so many American readers: What’s your book about? Of course, the only way to answer that question, as the novelist Paul West argued, is by taking up the book in question and reading it from cover to cover. For my part, I see no need to get to the point because I’m not entirely convinced there is a point to be gotten to, only an experience to be had–a distinctly un-American idea indeed.

Well, what do you think?

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