My first thought on reading Frenchman Eric Laurrent’s ‘American Diary’ was on the reception it might get from American readers.  The story is some dozen entries of a diary written by a Frenchman (thus inviting us to identify the diarist with the author, a presumption Laurrent does nothing to dissuade) that reads as xenophobic and dismissive, the condescension of a refined man of taste touring a glittering cultural wasteland.  Laurrent’s distaste is there from day one as he describes the imitation of Gothic Venetian architecture and the bastardization of high art (Boticelli’s Venus as a bathing-suited, roller-skated tourist sans the shell) of the Venice Beach hotel in which he is staying.  What follows is a satirical slideshow of the diarist’s misadventures as he travels from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Salt Lake City and in between.

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