This book offers a critical study and analysis of American fiction at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It focuses on novels that ‘go outward’ literally and metaphorically, and it concentrates on narratives that take place mainly away from the US’s geographical borders.

Varvogli draws on current theories of travel globalization and post-national studies, and proposes a dynamic model that will enable scholars to approach contemporary American fiction and assess recent changes and continuities. Concentrating on work by Philip Caputo, Dave Eggers, Norman Rush and Russell Banks, the book proposes that American literature’s engagement with Africa has shifted and needs to be approached using new methodologies. Novels by Amy Tan, Garrison Keillor, Jonathan Safran Foer and Dave Eggers are examined in the context of travel and globalization, and works by Chang-rae Lee, Ethan Canin, Dinaw Mengestu and Jhumpa Lahiri are used as examples of the changing face of the American immigrant novel, and the changing meaning of national belonging.

Contents  Acknowledgements  Introduction  I: Africa and the Limits of Fiction  1: Philip Caputo, Acts Of Faith; Dave Eggers, What Is The What  2: Norman Rush, Mortals; Russell Banks, The Darling  II: Travel And Globalization  3: Amy Tan, Saving Fish From Drowning; Garrison Keillor, Pilgrims  4: Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated; Dave Eggers, You Shall Know Our Velocity  III: Dislocation And/At Home  5: Chang-Rae Lee, A Gesture Life; Ethan Canin, Carry Me Across The Water  6: Dinaw Mengestu, How To Read The Air; Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake  Bibliography  Index