Peter (Francis) Straub Peter Ackroyd - Essay

Peter Ackroyd

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

If You Could See Me Now works rather well. Its setting, a small farming community in the mid-West, is a great help. All Gothic novels must now streak against that particularly garish backdrop …, and specifically against those small immigrant communities which retain their indigenous customs while apparently adopting what is known as the American 'way of life'. This sense of 'passing', of remaining an alien while being ostensibly American, is central to American culture….

In Peter Straub's novel, the alien is merely a rational East-Coast academic, Miles Teagarden, who is returning to the small town which no longer needs him or wants him back. Despite all the possibilities for cliché in a...

(The entire section is 543 words.)