David L. Ulin interviews Alain de Botton about his book A Week at the Airport and his residency at Heathrow:

The real problem with airports is that we tend to go there when we need to catch a plane -- and because it’s so difficult to find the way to the gate, we tend not to look around at our surroundings. And yet airports definitely reward a second look -- they are the imaginative centers of the modern world. It’s here you should go to find, in a concrete form, all the themes of modernity that one otherwise finds only in abstract forms in the media. Here you see globalization, environmental destruction, runaway consumerism, family breakdown: the modern sublime in action.

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