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In Persuasion Nation

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  6,218 Ratings  ·  578 Reviews
The stories In Persuasion Nation are easily his best work yet. "The Red Bow,"about a town consumed by pet-killing hysteria, won a 2004 National Magazine Award and "Bohemians," the story of two supposed Eastern European widows trying to fit in in suburban USA, is included in The Best American Short Stories 2005. His new book includes both unpublished work, and stories that ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Riverhead Books (first published 2006)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Feb 02, 2015 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
Not my favorite Saunders, though to be clear, my rating is specifically on a Saunders scale rather than a "compared to all other short story books" type of thing. That may or not be fair (okay, it's not), but it can't really be helped after you've spent enough time with a particular author. Though I enjoyed a few of these quite a bit, the collection as a whole felt like more of a chore than any other collection of his that I've read. In fact, I usually find Saunders to be especially not impatien ...more
Ryan Chapman
May 09, 2007 Ryan Chapman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: fiction
George Saunders is like The Onion for the literati. He's hilarious, to be sure, but also capable of parsing the 9/11 reaction by the U.S. in a brilliant five-page allegory.
Leo Robertson
Mar 21, 2016 Leo Robertson rated it it was amazing
Just through my love of Saunders, I noticed that I read this book again by periodically reading these stories during work breaks.

"The Red Bow" is particularly chilling, and during a dull meeting recently I thought about it and I was like 'Ohhh do you think it's a metaphor for AIDS? The red bow! That the only apparent way to eliminate the disease- during that time when the disease was idiopathic and only gay people seemed to have it- was to eliminate gay people themselves? And didn't that happen
Jan 05, 2011 Jessica marked it as sampled-a-few
I'm sure this has been said before, but Madison Avenue suffered a grave loss when this guy decided to go into fiction.

I really enjoyed all the stories in the first, ad-themed section, but it's sort of been on a gentle downhill from there. Some of these -- like "The Red Ribbon," the only one I'd read before -- got too message-y for me. Still, I'm liking it. I've been embarrassed in public when it's been revealed that I'm the only one of my friends who has never read George Saunders. I guess this
Apr 16, 2015 Ryandake rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-good-shit
some books, i don't really know what to say, except that i know genius when i read it.

this book of short stories gives a person more to think about life than a rack full of self-help books. Saunders is telling us crucial things about contemporary life in some funny, bitter, outrageous, out-there ways that (at least to my limited skill) defy description.

i guess the most accurate thing i can say about his work is that each story is like a zen koan--just when you think you've got a grip on it, it m
May 07, 2008 Yulia marked it as left-unfinished
Shelves: short-stories
He has cute ideas, but he drags them on to the point where they simply become annoying and boring. Reading him is like choosing one food to eat on a deserted island for the rest of your life. Good luck. Is he a cutting social satirist? I would look elsewhere.
Sep 02, 2008 Maggie rated it really liked it
Last week I found myself in a bit of a pickle. I was supposed to have spent my summer tracking down supplementary readings for a unit on media manipulation, but as of two days before my due date I hadn't found one single thing. Honestly, I hadn't even bothered to try. In short, I was screwed. Fortunately, a friend came to my rescue by suggesting In Persuasion Nation, a collection of short stories by George Saunders, and it proved perfect for my needs. (And thank God I can read a book in a day. W ...more
Sarah Smith
George Saunders seems to have made a pretty solid career for himself by skewering the massively weird and distant ways we consume goods (and by goods here I mean history and information as well as pre-packed food dreck). After reading his last few books I admit I was a little worried for George--it seemed like he had found a good basic situation in CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia, mostly the struggle to remain authentically human in a themepark simulation of the real world. These are ...more
Jan 31, 2015 Abby rated it it was amazing
“What America is, to me, is a guy doesn’t want to buy, you let him not buy, you respect his not buying. A guy has a crazy notion different from your crazy notion, you pat him on the back and say, Hey pal, nice crazy notion, let’s go have a beer. America, to me, should be shouting all the time, a bunch of shouting voices, most of them wrong, some of them nuts, but please, not just one droning glamorous reasonable voice.” (From the story "My Flamboyant Grandson")

Brilliant and weird and funny and m
Hazal Çamur
Jan 31, 2016 Hazal Çamur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
İlk kısmı sarsıcı ve inanılmaz zekice, ikinci kısım dinleme turu, üçüncü kısım yeniden yükseliş ve dördüncü bölüm kapanış.

George Saunders'ı Phil'in Dehşet Verici Kısa Saltanatı ile tanımıştım. Bu kitabındaki kimi öyküleri Phil'den daha çok sevdiğimi rahatlıkla söyleyebilirim. Yine kara mizahı zaman zaman absürd mizaha kaydırarak yapacağını yapıyor, sözünü sakınmıyor Saunders.

Bu bir öykü kitabı, ama sanmayın ki öyküler birbirinden bağımsız. Aksine, hepsin tüketim toplumunun ve popüler kültürün ç
Beyza Taşdelen
Jun 26, 2016 Beyza Taşdelen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
George Saunders son zamanların en iyi öykücülerinden biri olarak nitelendiriliyorsa kesinlikle boş yere değil. Bir iki öyküyü özellikle çok sevdim ve uzun bir süre aklımdan atabileceğimi zannetmiyorum.
Aug 29, 2014 Bennard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
originally posted on The Short Story Station

“What America is, to me, is a guy doesn’t want to buy, you let him not buy, you respect his not buying. A guy has a crazy notion different from your crazy notion, you pat him on the back and say, Hey pal, nice crazy notion, let’s go have a beer. America, to me, should be shouting all the time, a bunch of shouting voices, most of them wrong, some of them nuts, but please, not just one droning glamorous reasonable voice.” – Leonard Petrillo, ‘My Flamboya
Justin Evans
Aug 21, 2012 Justin Evans rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I like that every reviewer says this collection is uneven, and then everyone goes on to list different stories as the good ones. It is uneven. My two cents: the more 'experimental' the story in this collection is, the better it is. The whole "looks cynical and ironic... looks a little less cynical... turns out to have a real heart beneath the irony... oh my god I'm in tears" thing only works if you don't jump straight to the tears as we do in 'Christmas', and only works if you don't skip the rea ...more
pepe abola
Apr 13, 2008 pepe abola rated it it was ok
hypothetically, george saunders is an author i should like. he is unabashedly progressive, very experimental, and witty. also, i loved pretty much everything in "pastoralia." two years ago when i was in graduate school, i held him in the highest esteem, seeing him as something of a descendant of one of my favorites, donald barthelme (yes i am a snobby snob snob snob).

anyhow. this book thoroughly disappointed me. the great stories in it, less than half, were great stories. the rest were all faile
In Persuasion Nation's stories' main concern here, at least with most of the stories, seems to be the increasingly blurred line between advertising and regular life. One story's about a reality show that contains its own commercials; another is actually about the characters in commercials (specifically the schlemiels, the ones who always lose out). And most of it comes off as really absurd, especially when you add in other Saunders mainstays like ghosts and corpses. But mostly what I've been thi ...more
Favorite stories from this collection:
- "my flamboyant grandson"
- "93990"
- "bard carrigan, american"

Saunders makes you commiserate with even the worst boss/bad guy because even they are caught up in something grander, a bigger system to which we are all subjects in one form or another. This one comes up just a tad short behind Tenth of December and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline (with the latter being my favorite so far).
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

I had the pleasure of getting to talk with legendary author George Saunders for CCLaP's podcast last week, a rare treat given how in demand he is on this latest tour even among the major media; but that meant I had to do some serious cramming in the few weeks leading up to our talk, in that (I guiltily con
Apr 22, 2008 Adam rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Summer readers, smartasses, lefties (politically)
I like Saunders, although he does lay it on a bit thick at times. Subtlety is hard to put one's finger on...Anyway, He's got the right take on things, in the sense that he's opinionated in the same way about the same things I am, and expresses those opinions in a very smartass manner. Always willing to be preached to in the choir, here.

There's a dark streak to some of the stories, and the bits of black humor kind of fell flat with me. It was almost as if he's a nice guy who's got a great concept
Nov 14, 2011 Lobstergirl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fiction
Most of the stories in this collection are relentlessly similar, situated in consumerist dystopias or just plain weirdness; Brad Carrigan, American, is the best of these. One of the more affecting stories is Christmas, about a loserish young man who lives in his aunt's basement in Chicago, works on a roofing crew with a bunch of even worse-off n'er-do-wells, and doesn't have good enough prospects to hang on to his girlfriend. Saunders grew up on the south side of Chicago. I have no idea if the s ...more
Mattia Ravasi
Jan 06, 2016 Mattia Ravasi rated it it was amazing
#14 in my Top 20 Books I Read in 2015:

An amazingly colorful short story collection on the dangers and absurdities of modern consumer society. Some stories are heartwarming and uplifting - like, tearjerking uplifting; some are mercilessly cruel; some are borderline disturbing; none is long or strong enough to mar the fun you have with this book.
Which is the kind of uncomfortable fun you get from a Family Guy episode - you know, one of the good ones.
One of
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
The first 4 stories in this book are delightfully, satirically funny! They are very clever commentary on our current American lifestyle.
The very last story (commcomm) has some absolutely hilarious, laugh-out-loud lines poking fun at ultra-religious people and govt. bureaucrat-speak.

The rest of the book (pages 73 through 195) is mostly a waste of time and just plain stupid. I read through them hoping to find more good ones, but they were terrible, especially "93990"!
Nick Black
Feb 17, 2014 Nick Black rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-nyc
i'm gonna give george saunders two more chances, and that's it. yeah, we get it. you don't like commercaials. none of us do. stop being a pretentious douchebag, dude; you teach at syracuse. last time i checked, GT beat you 56-0 in 2013 ACC football, and we barely know the english alphabet. NYPL checkout.
Karyna Mcglynn
Jul 07, 2008 Karyna Mcglynn rated it liked it
Clever, at time quite funny, well-written (no surprise), but the tricks wore thin quickly and I grew tired of the voice and the political allegories. Even though I "enjoyed" each story, I felt like I could abandon the book at any point and not really regret it.
Dec 08, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This collection of short stories is broken into four parts. Each part beginning with a quote attributed to a nonexistant Bernard "Ed" Alton from a fictitious Taskbook for the New Nation. Each of the quotes hinting to a common theme(s) explored by the stories collected in each of the parts.

"Our enemies will first assail the health of our commerce, throwing up this objection and that to innovative methods and approaches designed to expand our prosperity and thus our freedom. Their old-fashioned c
Amanda Davidson
Jul 06, 2008 Amanda Davidson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: you
Recommended to Amanda by: The Frog
Oh, no. I haven't felt this damaged or fucked up/moved by a book since reading Jesus' Son, or maybe Autobiography of Red. You know how many authors settle into a signature style or approach, that maybe has to do with working out certain artistic problems, but maybe it also has to do with publishers/editors putting out the most consistent pieces to create an even or marketable literary product, and maybe I'm being a little bit paranoid, and maybe it's also a little bit true? Not so here. In Persu ...more
Kiersten Lawson
Feb 16, 2013 Kiersten Lawson rated it really liked it
Another hilariously sad dystopian satirical story collection by bona fide literary genius George Saunders. "My Flamboyant Grandson" paints a near-future scene of invasive digital mayhem that comes to mind often.

"'You and your wife are in the prayers of me and our church,' he says to Rimney. 'Despite of what you may think of me.' 'You're in my prayers too,' says Rimney. 'I'm always praying you stop being so sanctimonious and miraculously get less full of shit.'"

"She wore only black. She said the
Dec 17, 2009 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Crazy funny. The first story of the collection, a response letter to a customer who is unhappy with her purchase of a device that fits over an infant's head and makes it look/sound/seem like the infant is talking (called I CAN SPEAK!(TM)), is absolutely hilarious. George Saunders is just really funny. The collection as a collection gets a bit heavy-handed, like, yeah, we all know that America is super commercial/ized, and everyone buys a bunch of worthless crap and watches junk on TV (there are ...more
Jul 20, 2010 Eric rated it liked it
"In Persuasion Nation" swings from brilliant to condescending and the mean lies somewhere in between. I love Saunders' writing, but he needs to broaden his subject matter or work at his characterization a little better. His beautiful story "Bohemians" captures something about the way we perceived the world when we were younger. "93990" was brilliantly executed, espectially when compared to the horribly condescending "Brad Carrigan, American" which is every bit as vapid as the ignorance it purpor ...more
Shawn Sorensen
Saunders sits on a butte - elevated due to several uplifting reviews yet isolated from many readers by underdeveloped or weird, finger-scratching-forehead writing.

With so many short stories to choose from here, I'd like to report that there are some gems, namely "my flamboyant grandson", "93990" and "commcomm". In "flamboyant" a grandfather heroically takes his weird grandson to a Broadway play. I say heroic because Times Square has turned into a mecca even more commercialized than it is now, w
May 28, 2008 Andy rated it liked it
I'm a sizable Saunders' fan, so I approached this book with some sense of anticipation. For the most part, my appetite for good short fiction was met. I thought there were a few more "misses" among the collection than I remember from either CivilWarLand... or Pastoralia. These include "I CAN SPEAK!" (reminded me of the 90's era SNL skit "Super Happy Fun Ball" which is unspeakably awesome, but this story took the concept a little too far), "My Amendment" (a loud unfunny satire), and "93990" (whic ...more
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George Saunders was born December 2, 1958 and raised on the south side of Chicago. In 1981 he received a B.S. in Geophysical Engineering from Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. He worked at Radian International, an environmental engineering firm in Rochester, NY as a technical writer and geophysical engineer from 1989 to 1996. He has also worked in Sumatra on an oil exploration geophysi ...more
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“There comes that phase in life when, tired of losing, you decide to stop losing, then continue losing. Then you decide to really stop losing, and continue losing. The losing goes on and on so long you begin to watch with curiosity, wondering how low you can go. ” 56 likes
“America, to me, should be shouting all the time, a bunch of shouting voices, most of them wrong, some of them nuts, but please, not just one droning glamourous reasonable voice.” 16 likes
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