The unanchored self

The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home, by Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer's new travel memoir is an inventive take on the increasingly elusive nature of cultural identity in the modern world. With the help of Teilhard de Chardin and Emerson, Iyer first defines the idea of the global soul as a collective unconscious. But after the first 30 pages the collective "global soul" shifts to designate the individual--Iyer and people like him.

Iyer's parents are from India; he grew up in England and the U.S. and now lives in Japan. "The country where people look like me is the one where I can't speak the language," he writes. "The country where people sound like me is a place where I look highly alien, and the country where people live like me is the most foreign space of all."


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