In Persuasion Nation
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
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
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
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"!
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
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...more
"'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...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
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 one doesn't have the breadth or scope of Pastoralia or CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, but it's easier to get at Saunders' morals and the units that make up his writing and stories here. Both are very satisfying and entertaining to see. He cracks me up as he makes me worried about humanity, which is hard to do and amazing to read. I liked his take on same-sex marriage in My Amendment....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
Read the rest in the June 2007 issue of decomP .