Benjamin Markovits

An Englishman landing in Austin will suffer the usual disappointments of arrival. The new airport, just out of town to the south-east, lies in the middle of nothing much. It is expensively spacious, marbled, lit. But even its newness is suggestive of somewhere slightly out of the way: the cleanness of manageable traffic. Nor, as he steps outside, will he find much to impress him. The volume of the skies is very great: the horizon is flat and wide. But scale, in itself, isn’t always inspiring, when composed of the usual increments. The Texas landscape, at first glance, will strike him as simply a repetition of the undistinguished: low trees and hills, rusty tracks between them, beginning and ending in nowhere, running parallel to the telephone poles and the highway into town.

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