A talk given in Berlin on November 10 on receiving the 2016 Welt Literature Prize.
I did not understand that I was “championing” multiculturalism by simply depicting it, or by describing it as anything other than incipient tragedy.
Racial homogeneity is no guarantor of peace, any more than racial heterogeneity is fated to fail.
I find these days that a wistful form of time travel has become a persistent political theme, both on the right and on the left. On November 10 The New York Times reported that nearly seven in ten Republicans prefer America as it was in the 1950s, a nostalgia of course entirely unavailable to a person like me, for in that period I could not vote, marry my husband, have my children, work in the university I work in, or live in my neighborhood. Time travel is a discretionary art: a pleasure trip for some and a horror story for others. Meanwhile some on the left have time travel fancies of their own, imagining that the same rigid ideological principles once applied to the matters of workers’ rights, welfare, and trade can be applied unchanged to a globalized world of fluid capital.