Fiction far from one’s own experience can be transporting

My December 28, 2021 book culture column for the San Francisco Chronicle:

I recently attended a significantly numbered reunion at my high school in an affluent, primarily white suburb of New York City. When it came time for the group discussion of how the place where we’d grown up had affected our lives, many felt compelled to mention the volunteer/social justice work they’d done, atoning, it seemed, for all the privileges we’d been afforded.

more …