Have you ever read a book that definitely felt to you like it was a product of a particular country? Maybe the style of humor felt (for example) especially Croatian to you, or the tone seemed quintessentially Italian.
Of course, any opinions will be influenced by your personal background. Regional influences felt strongly by one reader might be go unseen or ignored by another. Personally, I’m inundated with American culture on a daily basis – so it can be difficult for me to pinpoint books that would seem especially ‘American’ to any international friends.
Nicole from Bitches with Books lives in the UK. She just discussed a book that had a very ‘American’ feel to her: Chuck Palahnuik’s ‘Invisible Monsters’. In the comments, she compared two authors whose prose had different kinds of an ‘American’ quality to them:
John Steinbeck also feels very ‘American’ to me, but his writing is completely different from Palahniuk’s style. …[I]f you think of the specific kind of ‘rush’ you get in NYC (as opposed to the kind you get in London or Paris or elsewhere); the billboards and lights and punchiness in the way people talk and, very importantly, everything in your face, that’s kind of what I mean. It feels like it uses a very punchy commercial language to satirise the very same.
I like the idea of comparing a city’s “speed of living” with an author’s particular tone and cadence. Chuck Palahniuk isn’t from NYC, but I can see where the comparison is coming from: as far as I can tell, everything he writes is brusque and in a state of constant movement. Nicole continued:
Palahniuk’s way of talking is exaggeration on full blast. Whereas someone like Steinbeck is very subtle and slow but to the point. His writing feels like the dust bowl and is very earnest. Palahniuk’s feels like each word is a salesman trying to sell you something and they may or may not be lying to you go to this web-site. It’s that smarmy cashier who says as you’re leaving the shop “Missing you already! ;D” And British satire, by contrast, is more sarcastic and dry than Palahniuk.
(As a side note, Nicole’s impression of NYC reminds me why I was never eager to live there!)