Paul's Reviews > Pastoralia

Pastoralia by George Saunders
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's review
Jul 08, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: 2008
Read in July, 2008

Man, this dude is hella wacky. I'd definitely recommend this collection to anyone who gets a kick out of ridiculous, tragic, and humerous characters like Ignatius J. Reilly and the family from Tobacco Road, because there's definitely a lot of that here. Saunders' characters are totally pathetic and in shit situations, and things go from there. Definitely a lot of David Foster Wallace–type observations going on here, character-wise. I dunno. I don't want to give too much away, because some seriously weird shit happens. It's less than 200 pages, just pick it up and read it.

The situations are silly, sure, but they're too well-formed and socially conscious and prescient to write off as such. Like you wouldn't call Saunders an absurdist or a jokester. I think he's just got a good eye for human foibles and for where the world could seriously be headed. Add to that a wacky and pretty dark sense of humor. It totally works. This book is flat-out entertaining. Very well written but totally unpretentious, language-wise. Laughed out loud a few times, went "Oh, man," to myself a few times, out of pure empathy for the characters. Good stuff.

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