I did not want to spend my life in Cambridge. The places at Harvard that made me feel happy were the places that reminded me of the Middle East — Café Algiers being one of them. Basically, it fended off Cambridge and the United States. It took me elsewhere. You go there, it’s dark and you think you’re elsewhere. Some places in Boston reminded me of New York. I was never in one place, ever, in my whole life, without thinking of being somewhere else.
Andre Aciman and Hope Reese in the LARB.
There seems to be a whole diaspora of minority writers who felt miserable and alienated in Cambridge.