Monday, October 23, 2006

Charm City, You Say?

As part of its delightful “Literary Guide to the World” series, Salon today hosts none other than Laura Lippman on the subject of her hometown--Baltimore, Maryland--as seen through the authorial eyes of Robert Ward (Red Baker), John Waters (Shock Value), Anne Tyler (The Accidental Tourist), and others. In her introduction to the piece, though, Lippman shows she can be as adoring and skeptical about Baltimore as anyone else:
To understand Baltimore, it’s helpful to get a grip on its geography. Baltimore is one of those odd American cities that lies in no county; instead, it dangles in the water, surrounded by a ragged blob of land. It has been said that Baltimore County looks like a monkey wrench hanging from the Mason-Dixon Line, which makes Baltimore City the bolt--one that has been tightened a hair too much. Incapable of expanding, the city has been losing population and political clout since the 1960s, when white residents began to flee for the suburbs. Fittingly, all quintessentially Baltimore stories have a “Wizard of Oz” quality: Characters dream of escaping to someplace new, only to yearn for home. Or, as we say in Bawlmer: Hooooooohme.
You’ll find the full write-up here.

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