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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

entry arrow2:21 AM | The Divides

Maybe this is simply a failure of the individual imagination. But do we need to live in a particular place in order to get the nuances of the fiction written about it? I never did get Jonathan Franzen before, even thought "The Corrections" a little too alienating, a book that I could not finish because it was rife with too many cultural references to American living that I, a Filipino living in a tropical island, could only fathom to a certain degree. Its objects, its angst, its diction simply went over my head. But now that I'm breathing the air of the American Midwest and seeing American culture up close, I think I'm getting him now. I read a bit of "Freedom," and suddenly it felt familiar. Last week, I also finished reading David Leavitt's tale of family secrets and lies in an American university town in "The Body of Jonah Boyd," and I got the subtleties, too. Which brings me to an uneasy question: how does one exactly transmit a sense of place in fiction to a reader whose vocabulary of imagination simply limits the degree of comprehension for what is presented on the page just because it is too foreign, too unfamiliar?


[2] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich