Goodreads helps you follow your favorite authors. Be the first to learn about new releases!
Start by following George Saunders.

George Saunders George Saunders > Quotes


more photos (1)

George Saunders quotes Showing 241-270 of 540

“He was the sort of child people imagine their children will be, before they have children.”
George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
“His mind was freshly inclined toward sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow; that everyone labored under some burden of sorrow; that all were suffering; that whatever way one took in this world, one must try to remember that all were suffering (none content; all wronged, neglected, overlooked, misunderstood), and therefore one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact; that his current state of sorrow was not uniquely his, not at all, but, rather, its like had been felt, would yet be felt, by scores of others, in all times, in every time, and must not be prolonged or exaggerated, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it. hans vollman All”
George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
“None of it was real; nothing was real. Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear.”
George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
“Three cars for two grown-ups, I thought. What a country. What a couple selfish dicks my wife and her new husband were. I could see that, over the years, my babies would slowly transform into selfish-dick babies, then selfish-dick toddlers, kids, teenagers, and adults, with me all that time skulking around like some unclean suspect uncle.”
George Saunders, Tenth of December
“I would have done anything to stop the hitting. Anything. So much for human dignity, I think, a few whacks in the ribs and you’re calling a fat guy God and eating soil at his request.”
George Saunders, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
“Hearing that gave me paws. I did not want to be the kind of Dad who is so mad he just skowls, and hense his Babys are like: Ugh, Dad brings us down, he does not find life gud, but only sits mad in the Den wile us other Foxes stare up at the moonlite, nuzzling close, moving our tale areas bak and forth the way we Foxes do when glad. I wanted to be the kind of Dad who, yeers hense, when thinking of me, are Babys are like, gud old Dad, he was always there for us, showing us with the old snout-nudge what is fud and what is not.”
George Saunders, Fox 8
“I feel like that now: tired of the Me I've always been, tired of making the same mistakes, repetitively stumbling after the same small ego strokes, being caught in the same loops of anxiety and defensiveness. At the end of my life, I know I won't be wishing I'd held more back, been less effusive, more often stood on ceremony, forgiven less, spent more days oblivious to the secret wishes and fears of the people around me. So what is stopping me from stepping outside my habitual crap?
My mind, my limited mind.”
George Saunders, The Braindead Megaphone
“What we’re doing in writing is not all that different from what we’ve been doing all our lives, i.e., using our personalities as a way of coping with life. Writing is about charm, about finding and accessing and honing ones’ particular charms. To say that “a light goes on” is not quite right—it’s more like: a fixture gets installed. Only many years later...will the light go on.”
George Saunders
“The realization that failure was possible, even for me, had the effect of increasing my empathy. If life could be this harsh/grueling/boring for someone who'd had all the advantages, what must it be like for someone who hadn't? A thread of connection went out between me and everyone else. They, too, wanted to be happy. They, too, wanted to succeed. Maybe they had people they loved at home. They, too, were doing some weird uninteresting job in order to ensure the security and happiness of those beloved people of theirs, and yet...”
George Saunders, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
“Or say we have two rival dictators in a death grudge. Assuming ED289/290 develops nicely in pill form, allow me to slip each dictator a mickey. Soon their tongues are down each other’s throats and doves of peace are pooping on their epaulets.”
George Saunders, Tenth of December
“He sent the trained dog that is his talent off in search of a fat glorious pheasant, and it brought back the lower half of a Barbie doll.”
George Saunders, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
tags: talent
“Sermon: Why this surprising? Did you think you were going to live forever? Only difference between you, sitting there anticipating rest of your day, and Todd, in coffin, bound for eternal home in cold earth? Is heartbeat. Feel that, people? In your chests? This is thin line between you and grave. So why do you live like you are eternal? That foolish, you are fools. This scary? This not scary! This truth, this reality!”
George Saunders, Tenth of December
tags: death
“Lightning strikes the slaughterhouse flagpole and the antelope scatter like minnows as the rain begins to fall, and finally, having lost what was to be lost, my torn and black heart rebels, saying enough already, enough, this is as low as I go.”
George Saunders, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
“Note to future generations: In our time, are such things as credit cards. Company loans money, you pay back at high interest rate. Is nice for when you do not actually have money to do thing you want to do (for example, buy extravagant cheetah). You may say, safe in your future time: Wouldn’t it be better to simply not do things you can’t afford to do? Easy for you to say.”
George Saunders, Tenth of December
tags: debt
“...But all that power has culminated in gentleness. It is as if that is the point of power: to allow one to access the higher registers of gentleness.”
George Saunders
tags: power
“World rips kid's guts out”
George Saunders, Tenth of December
“Forgoing eternally, sir, such things as, for example: two fresh-shorn lambs bleat in a new-mown field; four parallel blind-cast linear shadows creep across a sleeping tabby’s midday flank; down a bleached-slate roof and into a patch of wilting heather bounce nine gust-loosened acorns; up past a shaving fellow wafts the smell of a warming griddle (and early morning pot-clangs and kitchen-girl chatter); in a nearby harbor a mansion-sized schooner tilts to port, sent so by a flag-rippling, chime-inciting breeze that causes, in a port-side schoolyard, a chorus of childish squeals and the mad barking of what sounds like a dozen—”
George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
“If they ever get around to building The Short Story Museum, I think they’d better carve this over the doorway: ‘A short story works to remind us that if we are not sometimes baffled and amazed and undone by the world around us, rendered speechless and stunned, perhaps we are not paying close enough attention.”
George Saunders
“After dinner the babies get fussy and Min puts a mush of ice cream and Hershey's syrup in their bottles and we watch The Worst That Could Happen, a half-hour of computer simulations of tragedies that have never actually occurred but theoretically could.”
George Saunders
“Of suddenly remembering what was lost.”
George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
“From nothingness, there arose great love; now, its source nullified, that love, searching and sick, converts to the most abysmal suffering imaginable.”
George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
“I noticed something: if I put a theme park in a story, my prose improved.”
George Saunders, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
“How, then, to proceed? My method is: I imagine a meter mounted in my forehead, with “P” on this side (“Positive”) and “N” on this side (“Negative”). I try to read what I’ve written uninflectedly, the way a first-time reader might (“without hope and without despair”). Where’s the needle? Accept the result without whining. Then edit, so as to move the needle into the “P” zone. Enact a repetitive, obsessive, iterative application of preference: watch the needle, adjust the prose, watch the needle, adjust the prose (rinse, lather, repeat), through (sometimes) hundreds of drafts. Like a cruise ship slowly turning, the story will start to alter course via those thousands of incremental adjustments.

The artist, in this model, is like the optometrist, always asking: Is it better like this? Or like this?

The interesting thing, in my experience, is that the result of this laborious and slightly obsessive process is a story that is better than I am in “real life” – funnier, kinder, less full of crap, more empathetic, with a clearer sense of virtue, both wiser and more entertaining.

And what a pleasure that is; to be, on the page, less of a dope than usual.”
George Saunders
“Everything nonsense now. Those mourners came up. Hands extended. Sons intact. Wearing on their faces enforced sadness-masks to hide any sign of their happiness, which—which went on. They could not hide how alive they yet were with it, with their happiness at the potential of their still-living sons. Until lately I was one of them. Strolling whistling through the slaughterhouse, averting my eyes from the carnage, able to laugh and dream and hope because it had not yet happened to me. To us.”
George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
“A story is a really weird art object that should contain life but not be enslaved by the banality.”
George Saunders
“Only then (nearly out the door, so to speak) did I realize how unspeakably beautiful all of this was, how precisely engineered for our pleasure, and saw that I was on the brink of squandering a wondrous gift, the gift of being allowed, every day, to wander this vast sensual paradise, this grand marketplace lovingly stocked with every sublime thing: swarms of insects dancing in slant-rays of august sun; a trio of black horses standing hock-deep and head-to-head in a field of snow; a waft of beef broth arriving breeze-borne from an orange-hued window on a chill autumn—”
George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
“One day, walking neer one of your Yuman houses, smelling all the interest with snout, I herd, from inside, the most amazing sound. Turns out, what that sound is, was: the Yuman voice, making werds. They sounded grate! They sounded like prety music! I listened to those music werds until the sun went down...”
George Saunders, Fox 8
“What a beautiful country this must have been once, when you could hop in a coupe and buy a bag of burgers and drive, drive, drive, stopping to swim in a river or sleep in a grove of trees without worrying about intaking mutagens or having the militia arrest you and send you to the Everglades for eternity.”
George Saunders
“(the nature of that unfairness perhaps being just that they had been born stronger, more clever, more energetic than others), and who, having seized the apple, would eat it so proudly, they seemed to think that not only had they grown it, but had invented the very idea of fruit, too, and the cost of this lie fell on the hearts of the low (Mr.”
George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
“What is truth, if not an ongoing faith in, and continuing hope for, that which one feels and knows in one’s heart to be right, all temporary and ephemeral contraindications notwithstanding?”
George Saunders, In Persuasion Nation


All Quotes | Add A Quote


Lincoln in the Bardo Lincoln in the Bardo
128,464 ratings
Open Preview
Tenth of December Tenth of December
64,291 ratings
Open Preview
Pastoralia Pastoralia
18,760 ratings
CivilWarLand in Bad Decline CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
17,545 ratings
Open Preview