From Detroit, This Year’s Model

I once asked Dalrymple if he was familiar with the extraordinary photoessay on Detroit by two French photographers, and he replied, “Yes, and I found it very profound.” He references it in this review, in Quadrant Online (h/t George T.), of a French novel on the city, near which he recently travelled to a conference:

My request that I should visit Detroit was greeted by the conference organisers much as if I had gone to the manager of the hotel and asked him for the keys to the rooftop so that I could throw myself off. In the event, I went straight back to Detroit airport without having visited the city, and have had to content myself since with the irresistibly titillating photojournalism (abandoned mansions, feral dogs roaming the deserted and crumbling streets) that appears from time to time in British and French newspapers and magazines. “See what America has come to!”—the Schadenfreude is unmistakable. The misfortunes of others, especially of the rich and powerful, are the greatest balm known to the human soul.

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