See the Many Locations of the Great American Novel in One Giant Map

Caitlin Schneider

Hog Island Press

One of the primary characteristics of the so-called “Great American Novel” is a strong sense of place, which means that when you consider the qualifying books and their settings together, what should result is a kind of literary map of the United States.

Artist Mark Adams took this idea and put it to the page, resulting in an infographic of 42 novels charted across a map of the U.S. The books are linked geographically to their respective fictional or real-life locales—from Detroit, Mich. (the setting of Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex) to Maycomb, Ala. (the mythical town in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird).

While not necessarily a comprehensive take on the genre, the map offers an insightful look at how and where American tales have been presented in literature. Many stories are set in California, New York, the Midwest, and the South, with far fewer in the central and western regions of the country. The novels are numbered in chronological order.

The hand-drawn, screen printed, limited edition map is available through Hog Island Press, and while you’re over there, check out Adams’s equally awesome Monsters in America map.