Our guest this week is Isabel Lucas, journalist and author of the book Viagem ao Sonho Americano (Journey to the American Dream), in a conversation that is an authentic map of American identity through its literature.

The question was far from a simple answer: what is America? To answer this question, the journalist set out to draw a literary map of America from 16 essential books, in a set of works for the newspaper Público,with the support of FLAD.

But the result would turn out to be much more than that. After traveling 97.000 kilometers over the course of a year, Isabel Lucas placed the result – a mixture of diving into the American condition, in its myths and paradoxes, fears and frailties, but also of its greatness – in a book that turned into a true search for the meaning of one of the intrinsic ideals of the American psyche, the American dream.

The work came from the books, but gained shape and color with the streets, the people, and their different voices. And in the end, she says, she learned more about herself than she did about America.

“With this trip, I think I found out more about myself than about America. […] As long as I can go back to America, I want to go back to America so I can understand her little bit better and also try to understand a little better what I do here.” – Isabel Lucas

About the American dream, the basis of all this research on the ground, says it is part of American identity. “To be and think about the dream, that’s where the country started, with someone who comes to a new continent and wants to make there a new land for a new man.”

But the current situation, the division, and fear shouldn’t take place and is the opposite of what the fundamental documents that mark the foundation of this new country that would become a superpower.

“[O medo] It’s the opposite of America. It is a fear that nullifies what is the American Constitution, which is a great literary goal written by those who know how to write. And that is the basis of what is America, and it is the difference, is above all to accept the other, which is also something that is biblical, which is part of what we want to be in the evolution of the human condition.” – Isabel Lucas

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