‘The Late Americans’ is not just a campus novel

“The Late Americans” by Brandon Taylor transcends the campus novel category by exploring the myth of youth’s unbound possibilities.

Plot and themes: The book focuses on the intersecting lives of University of Iowa students as they navigate constraints of time, space, class, and wealth disparities.
* Taylor’s characters are defined by ~~”lateness,”~~ as they experience the isolating nature of 21st century America.
* The novel reveals the lack of understanding and convergence among the diverse population of students and town residents.

Beyond the campus novel: The setting of the open Iowa landscape both references and poetically subverts the campus novel’s pastoral elements.
* The harsh, wintry Midwestern setting contrasts with the characters’ corporeal desires in heated indoor spaces.

Modern counterparts: The characters reflect modern versions of those found in the novels of Henry James, Edith Wharton, and Theodore Dreiser.
* Taylor suggests the modern university experience may have failed to transcend ideological, social, and economic barriers present in experimental learning settings.

View original article on NPR

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