In Persuasion Nation
"The first thing you ought to know is that Saunders is the funniest writer in America... [But] Saunders's laughs are a cove...more
[Image: A photo of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker done up in heavily saturated red/blue colors like a 2008 Barack Obama campaign poster. The text at the bottom reads "CORPORATE STOOGE"]
It’s been a few months since Governor Scott Walker ruined my reading time. He’s still an asshole and an idiot, but he’s not going away anytime soon (damn that one-year recall waiting period!), and his asshole-idiocy has been outshined by all the other idiot asshole...more
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...more
anyhow. this book thoroughly disappointed me. the great stories in it, less than half, were great stories. the rest were all faile...more
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...more
I don't know much about this author except that he contributes to the New Yorker, Harper's and GQ. I am now going to seek much of his work.
There is an impressive range in his material. Most of the time he is writing with this wry or absurd sense of humor. But then you'll move onto the...more
Read the rest in the June 2007 issue of decomP .
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...more
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...more
This is truly the age of persuasion. Though people have been influenced by external factors from time immemorial, given the proliferation of print/visual media in the last decade or so the persuasion factor has multiplied greatly. One is assaulted from all ends with innumerable choices that one does not actually know what he wants, but ends up doing something just for the heck of it. In this scenario, George Saunders creates a dystopian world in his collection 'In Persuasion Nation', where the g...more
If I were to re-read this, I'd read one story...and then read some other stuff and then come back to the next story a few days later. Using some kind of magical bedpost to keep the bubble gum as fresh as possible. I did enjoy reading "i can speak TM" to my wife and t...more
Quote of the week (from "My Flamboyant Grandson"):
"What America is to me, is a guy doesn't...more
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"!
(One of the dangers of reading a bunch of stories back-to-back-to-back is that some tricks of the trade start to become slightly too apparent. There's a particular comedic sentence structure that I started to notice...more
Can there be too much good Saunders? Critics praise the book but then admit that reading the stories in succession almost overwhelmed them. As he did in CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia, Saunders takes our world to its logical extremes, sometimes to the point of oversaturation. If his work seems avant-garde, it's approachably so, probably because of his ability to "construct a story of absurdist satire, then locate within it a moment of searing humanity" (Boston Globe). There is some...more
Riverhead Books, 2006
I actually finished reading this book over a week ago, and it's taken me all that time to get a proper review up, though I actually read it within a day. Why, you wonder, has it taken me so long to come up with something to say about this book? Well, In Persuasion Nation is a book of short stories, and I think it's really difficult to review short stories. I mean, it's difficult to consolidate my thoughts about collections of stories i...more