Now, after 13 years of expatriation, I'm returning home -- returning full circle. We'll see what I make of it, and what it makes of me. I think I know my own country --I feel and understand and appreciate and yearn for and pity it -- but at the same time it's true that for most of my adult life I've remained deliberately out of touch with it. There's so much about America that's exasperating: the foreign policy of course, but also the poisonously divisive domestic politics, the frivolous popular culture, the ubiquitous television, the fast food chains, the aggressive blandness of it all. I wanted none of it, so I got the hell out.
I'm driven to return partly by a felt compulsion toward intellectual and moral honesty. After 13 years spent moaning about one's country's from afar -- and apologising for it to disgruntled foreigners -- one begins feeling as if it has become an abstraction or a whipping boy. For better or worse, just as one left in the first place in order to experience the world at first hand, ultimately one must return for the same reason.The full column is online here.