- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (March 6, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781594482427
- ISBN-13: 978-1594482427
- ASIN: 159448242X
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 72 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In Persuasion Nation Paperback – March 6, 2007
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"Back when Philip K. Dick asked, 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' who could have imagined that George Saunders would answer?... Saunders's caustic wit, imaginative flair, and the ping-pong speed of his dialogue are on full display here." -- Los Angeles Times
"Leaves you startled and hushed, grateful to be alive and to be reading." -- Associated Press
"Insanely inventive... Stunningly effective... The surreal Saunders magic is working." -- New York Times Book Review
"Ludicrously funny and outrageously prescient... Saunders's finest gift... is to construct a story of absurdist satire, then locate within it a moment of searing humanity." -- The Boston Globe
"Pynchon-meets-Wonder Showzen." -- Entertainment Weekly
About the Author
George Saunders is the Man Booker Prize-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo; Tenth of December; In Persuasion Nation; The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil; Pastoralia; CivilWarLand in Bad Decline; The Braindead Megaphone; and a children's book, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip. His work appears regularly in the New Yorker, Harper's and GQ. In 2006, he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant." In 2000, The New Yorker named him one of the "Best Writers Under 40." He is a 2013 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction. He teaches at Syracuse University.
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A final thought: Have you ever noticed how our very best artists are often our most humane?
"I CAN SPEAK!" starts things off with a fantastic letter written in response to a parent complaining about a device that allows children to speak before they know how to speak. The title piece and "CommComm" are the other strong standouts.
Not everything works -- "93990" is nothing more than a gruesome lab report describing the death of numbered animals for the sake of science. While a climax involving a chimp that frees himself from bondage may have crossed a line of natural plot progression, offering nothing more than the current ending (I'll spare the spoiler) leaves the reader wondering why there is so much to read with so little to consider (other then "animal testing sure is awful.")
Similarly, "My Flamboyent Grandson" seems to be undercooked, relying more on the world then the characters to impart some greater statement about individuality. Indeed, Saunders often leaves the power to change in the hands of media/advertising, reducing his characters to reactionary personalities instead of actors. A positive outcome is not necessary for a story or even a collection to work, but the individual pieces could do more then hammer home the idea that certain forces are all-powerful and irresistible and that individuals don't triumph very often.
Saunders isn't always easy but he's often quite fun. If you enjoy a skewed perspective, give this collection a shot.