By Christopher Isherwood
I discovered Christopher Isherwood in college. His writing style is so direct, warm, and inclusive. There's one passage in this book, published in 1964, that has really stayed with me—the description of America. The narrator is a British man teaching at a California college. He and a few colleagues are having a conversation, and an American woman is saying how romantic Mexico is. She's critical of America. The protagonist argues with her, talking about the virtues of the United States. He says that its beauty is in its abstraction. I thought that was an amazing insight—possibly true and compelling at least.