America’s got talent! So does Britain…Pakistan, Nigeria, Greece, Vietnam, Sweden, Slovakia and a number of other countries in on the “Got Talent”, “Idol” or “X-Factor” franchises of reality TV talent shows. As Meg Wolitzer put it in an essay for Financial Times: “Regardless of your locale, at some point you will be confronted with a fetching, trembling little girl with a voice that’s powerful enough to shatter your eardrums, while still tender enough to break your frozen heart."
Wolitzer is the author of many books, most recently of The Interestings. Her essay, “In Search of the Real Thing” is a meditation on how our culture has come to equate talent with success.