March 2013 – This frequently dark, sometimes funny (also ironic and sometimes beautiful) compilation of short stories by George Saunders so expertly describes the minds ramblings and tangents. A 13 year old girl muses, “Pour quantity of Cheez Doodles into compartmentalized old-school Tupperware dealie… Shake Tupperware dealie back and forth like panning for gold, then offer to some imaginary poor gathered round.” A father, clearly frustrated by the wealth and decadence of his daughter’s friend’s family broods, “…sat on special star-watching platform as stars came out. Our kids sat watching stars fascinated, as if no stars in our neighborhood. What, I said, no stars in our neighborhood? No response. From anyone. Actually, stars there did seems brighter.” Separate stories seem somehow related; recognizing each participant as an often ill informed member of the human family.
The New York Times Magazine review which declared “…the best book you’ll read this year” was followed up by NPR and USA Today with nearly equally glowing reviews, both mentioning an initial intent to disagree with the hugely positive pronouncement of The Times. Brilliance borders insanity in this hard to put down read (which is not for the faint of heart). Other works by the MacArthur Genius Grant fellow George Saunders: Pastoralia and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline.