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Pastoralia by [George Saunders]
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Pastoralia Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 245 ratings

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About the Author

George Saunders is the Man Booker Prize-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo; Tenth of DecemberIn 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. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Amazon.com Review

In both his acclaimed debut, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, and his second collection, Pastoralia, George Saunders imagines a near future where capitalism has run amok. Consumption and the service economy rule the earth. The Haves are grotesque beings, mutilated by their crass desires and impossible wealth. The Have Nots are no less crippled, both emotionally and physically, by their inferior status. It's a kind of Westworld scenario, but instead of robots, the serving wenches, bellboys, and extras are real people, all of them mercilessly indentured by the free market.

Sounds like bleak stuff, doesn't it? Yet Saunders handles his characters with grace and humor. In the title story, for example, a couple occupies a squalid corner of a human zoo, where they act out a parody of caveman times, communicating in grunts and hand motions (speaking is instantly punishable by the Orwellian management) and conducting their lives during 15-minute smoke breaks. In "Winky," a born loser (really, all of Saunders's characters are born losers) visits a self-help seminar, where he's encouraged to rid himself of all those people who are "crapping in your oatmeal." Exhilarated at the prospect of dumping his simple, crazy-haired, religion-besotted sister, he returns home to the bleak discovery that he needs her as much as she needs him. The protagonist of "Sea Oak" works as a stripper in an aviation-themed restaurant and lives next to a crack house with his unemployed sisters, their babies, and a sweet old maid of an aunt. The aunt dies, and then returns from the grave--not so sweet, now, and still decomposing--with strange powers and a sobering message:

You ever been in the grave? It sucks so bad! You regret all the things you never did. You little bitches are going to have a very bad time in the grave unless you get on the stick, believe me!
The characters and situations in the rest of Pastoralia are equally wretched. But Saunders rescues them from utter despair with a loving belief in the triumph of the human spirit: yes, things can always get worse, but worse is better than the cold dirt of the grave. And in the small space between wretchedness and death there is plenty of room for laughter, and even love. --Tod Nelson --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN : B006J3X0CM
  • Publisher : Riverhead Books (1 June 2001)
  • Language : English
  • File size : 472 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 146 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 245 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
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Jade
4.0 out of 5 stars Bold, funny, unconventional work - read it to have your mind boggled!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 March 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 December 2018
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penguni
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 November 2015
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jennylessin
5.0 out of 5 stars Speedy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 May 2019
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Ami
5.0 out of 5 stars Often funny and sometimes heartbreaking short stories, recommended!
Reviewed in Canada on 14 May 2021
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