His remarkable first collection of stories was hailed by The New York Times as "the debut of an exciting new voice in fiction." Garrison Keillor called him "wildly funny, pure, generousall that a great humorist should be." With this new collection, George Saunderstakes us even further into the shocking, uproarious and oddly familiar landscape of his imagination.
The stories in Pastoralia are set in a slightly skewed version of America, where elements of contemporary life have been merged, twisted, and amplified, casting their absurdityand our humanityin a startling new light. Whether he writes a gothic morality tale in which a male exotic dancer is haunted by his maiden aunt from beyond the grave, or about a self-help guru who tells his followers his mission is to discover who's been "crapping in your oatmeal," Saunders's stories are both indelibly strange and vividly real.
George Saundershas been identified as a writer in the tradition of Mark Twain, Thomas Pynchon, and Kurt Vonnegut"a savage satirist with a sentimental streak," said The New York Times. In this new collection, Saunders brings greater wisdom and maturity to the worldview he established with CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, leaving no doubt about his place as the brilliant successor to these writers.
Saunders is a provocateur, a moralist, a zealot, a lefty, and a funny, funny writer, and the stories in Pastoralia delight. We're very lucky to have them.
Dazzling…These stories, injected with Saunders's highly original blend of irony and tenderness, ride you down spirals of the absurd and fling you back to your own life, startled. They're more real and more current than today's newspaper.
Dead-on…The title story alone is so crazily insightful it may turn out to be a minor classic. Saunders shines a harsh light on the pep-rally rhetoric of the modern American workplace.
Being inside the teeming heads of [Saunders's characters] is amusing and enlightening. So accurately are they rendered, in all their flawed glory, that they appear not only perfectly human but familiar.
Sharp, unnerving, and compassionate…Saunders's mordant wit and biting insights make his surreal stories crackle with alternating currents of humor and pathos.
Saunders's extraordinary talent is in top form ... his vision of a hellishly (and hopefully) exaggerated dystopia of late capitalist America is warmed and impassioned by his regular, irregular and flat-out wacky characters.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by R. Sue
I can't imagine not loving this book. I carried it around with me for six months just to read at will throughout the day. RSD
In the stories of Wells Tower, families fall apart and messily try to reassemble themselves. His version of America is touched with the seamy splendor of the dropout, the misfit: failed inventors, boozy dreamers, hapless fathers, wayward sons.
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