The Art Student's War

You can take people out of Detroit—in fact, that’s happening more and more—but it seems you can’t take Detroit out of artists who know what to do with large-scale tragedy. The novelist Jeffrey Eugenides professes himself “haunted” by his former city’s decline. Elmore Leonard remains near, though not in, the city that has inspired some of his best crime stories. The much-honored poet and novelist Brad Leithauser lives in Baltimore these days, but he considers Detroit his hometown and believes that it once represented the best of America’s possibilities.


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