There are some writers—a handful, a very few—who by looking intently and penetratingly at one place reveal piercing things about all places and all people, and so paradoxically they are the very antithesis of regional writers. Among them: Faulkner on Mississippi, Walker Percy on Louisiana, Steinbeck on California—and Alice McDermott on Irish Catholic New York.
Palestinians, Israelis and others active in peace and human rights work sigh when political dilettantes come to the Holy Land convinced that they will start the dialogue group that will bring peace—as though no one had thought of promoting dialogue before.
Let’s cut to the chase here. David Duncan, who is best known for his exuberant novels The River Why and The Brothers K, is one of the finest writers of spiritually minded essays in these United States.