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When Cultures Collide

Digging to America: A Novel by Anne Tyler

Reviewed by Elizabeth Judd
The Atlantic Monthly

"In her stupendously wise and very funny seventeenth novel, Anne Tyler tackles the ambitious subject of national character without leaving the confines of Baltimore. At the airport, two Korean infants are delivered to two eagerly awaiting adoptive families: Ziba and Sami Yazdan, a prosperous Iranian-American couple, and Bitsy and Brad Donaldson, who wait with 'flotillas of silvery balloons' and a boisterous entourage of relatives bearing video cameras. Enamored of all things foreign, Bitsy befriends the Yazdans only to impose on both households a well-intentioned but hokey vision of of multiculturalism, dressing daughter Jin-Ho in a sagusam and chiding Ziba for 'Americanizing' baby Susan's hairstyle. Tyler captures an essential quality of the international adoption experience — the girls' unfathomable backgrounds transform even fashion decisions into deeply symbolic acts, subject to earnest debate." Read the entire The Atlantic Monthly Review.




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