Susan Straight’s Literary Map of America

Opinion: A map of 1,001 novels to show us where to find the real America

By Susan Straight

Over the last five years, I’ve read or reread 1,001 books of fiction in my project to create a literary map of this country. The idea for this “library of America” was born in 2016, when the news and the elections told of a country being irrevocably divided by politics, by ideas of red and blue, by arguments over who is American and who is not.

For me, those arguments ignored the vast geography of our stories and novels, the ways people search for belonging, leave home or stay, and how every state is really many places. Those arguments also ignored our common dreams, fears, challenges, hopes and everyday experiences, which unite us, regardless of where we live. I wanted to show that the places of American fiction can’t be divided into blue or red states. Read the full piece at the L.A. Times.

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