from NYT, via First Things’s TKB:
…American life, as he describes it, simply lacks the fretwork of close, sometimes constricting relationships that take shape around a Russian practically from birth.
He writes of “a complete absence of the social institution of the grandmother and grandfather, in the Russian understanding of that role,” since instead of spending their 50s and 60s raising grandchildren, American women “are busy with their own lives.” Generations within American families “rapidly distance themselves from one another,” and Americans don’t hire their friends as doctors and lawyers, preferring to keep their professional ties untainted by personal ones.
He devotes many pages to privacy, a word that does not exist in the Russian language, or in the airless human mass that forms when Russians wait in line. Americans, he reports, prefer to converse at a distance of at least four feet.