Granta 77: twenty-four writers discuss the role America has played in their life, as a result of a train of thought about US-ology set off by 9/11.
Ian Buruma: "I still feel a schoolboyish thrill every time I go to America, and an exhilarating sense of lightness when I get there. Chatting to strangers somehow becomes easier. The burden of European caginess, and of the snobberies and class prejudices left behind, like crusty scales, by a European education, appears to be lifted. The feeling never entirely wears off, even when the drawbacks of American society-the sentimentality, the conformism, the insularity-become more apparent."