Jenny Walton, Indianapolis, Indiana

Dear Kurt,

I’ve been meaning to thank you for writing A Man Without a Country. I’ve read ten or so of your books since, but as you’ve probably already guessed, I’m not thanking you for it because it was my first.

I’m thanking you because I read it while I spending a semester in Lithuania. With roommates from Uzbekistan and Belarus, friends from Latvia, classmates from Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan—it didn’t take long to figure out that Americans are not necessarily loved and appreciated as widely as we might hope to be. And that truly, humor does not translate.

To keep myself occupied over the course of the semester, I started reading my way through the single bookshelf of American fiction in the university’s library. A Man Without a Country, while clearly misplaced, was a godsend between all the Hemingway and Steinbeck I had been reading.

The second I opened that book, I knew. I was completely humor-starved and had been for months. And so I stayed up all night tucked under my desk with a little lamp, 4,588 miles from home, reading that book and laughing so hard.

Honest to god, Kurt, that’s the night I fell in love with idea of living Indianapolis—which, thanks to you, is still home.

Sincerely yours,


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