Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. This story of the ragamuffin Huck’s journey down the Mississippi River offers an often coarse, scathing commentary on racism and 19th-century societal norms.
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Childhood in circa-1912, working-class Williamsburg is captured through the eyes of Francie Nolan, a young girl whose eccentric New York family is, by turns, scandalous, loving, erratic, and jubilant.
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. An elderly Cuban fisherman battles a massive marlin — and, ultimately, himself — in this classic man-versus-nature tale spun in a spare, beautiful style.