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Pastoralia by George Saunders

Pastoralia (original 2000; edition 2001)

by George Saunders

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1,996445,787 (4.02)88
Named by The New Yorker as one of the Twenty Best American Fiction Writers Under Forty, George Saunders has been recognised as a visionary storyteller with a hypnotic style. Critics have place him in the tradition of Mark Twain, Thomas Pynchon and Kurt Vonnegut - 'wildly funny, pure, generous - all that a great humorist should be' said Garrison Keillor.… (more)
Authors:George Saunders
Info:Riverhead Trade (2001), Edition: 0, Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:Your library

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Pastoralia by George Saunders (2000)


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» See also 88 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Funny. ( )
  mbeaty91 | Sep 9, 2020 |
Uneven collection, but two of the stories made me laugh so much, I have to say it's well worth it. Refreshingly zany and original voice. ( )
  Misprint | Aug 31, 2020 |
"...Morse, a smug member of the power elite in this conspiratorial Village, one of the league of oppressive oppressors who wouldn't know the lot of the struggling artist if the lot of the struggling artist came up with great and beleaguered dignity and bit him on the polyester ass."

I found all of the stories in this book heelarious. The reason I didn't give it 5 out of 5 is that every characters thinks in the exact same way that Saunders writes. Other than a couple "straight men", there weren't really any distinct voices. ( )
  katebrarian | Jul 28, 2020 |
George Saunders is one of my absolute favorite writers. I love the way he captures the human experience so accurately within the context of strange, quirky stories. This collection had a few stories that I didn't really connect with, but I loved Pastoralia, Winky and especially Sea Oak. The dialogue in Sea Oak was so perfect, and so was his description of a shady apartment complex and the yearning to get out. They just had to wait to hear it from... well I don't want to spoil it. Read George Saunders for an emotional education! (whatever yes that was a Love Actually reference) ( )
  nancyjean19 | Jun 3, 2020 |
Excellent. There is no one who writes internal monologue better than George Saunders. ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Mar 18, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Here it is, revisited for our entertainment in George Saunders’ second collection of satirical short stories, the new-look land of the free: themed up, dumbed down and laid out ready for embalming. Saunders has been compared to Pynchon and Vonnegut, yet the disgust that fuels his world recalls Nathaniel West. He shares too West’s taste for grotesquery yet these stories are raised above the level of mordant masterpieces by an extra dimension: hope.
Saunders specialises in giving losers - the ugly, the weak, the self-absorbed - a flicker of appeal or delusional hope. We meet them in motivational seminars, drivers' education courses, walking home from dead-end jobs. We follow them to places like Sea Oak, with "no sea and no oak, just 100 subsidised apartments and a rear view of FedEx". Inside those apartments, the tenants are watching TV: "How My Child Died Violently is hosted by Matt Merton, a six-foot-five blond who's always giving the parents shoulder rubs and telling them they've been sainted by pain."

There are six stories in this collection. Four of them are very good, and the other two are at least good -- a success average that is highly unusual for a short-story collection. If, like your humble reviewer, you had to regularly review short-story collections, you would soon discover that they almost always suck -- tinseling suburban dullness with some distant derivative of the Joycean epiphany until you want to scream: Basta! That Saunders stories are on such a high level is close to miraculous.

Saunders's extraordinary talent is in top form in his second collection, in which 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.
These characters may not have much, but they do possess the author's compassion, and so are enigmas of decency enshrouded in dark, TV-hobbled dumbness. Saunders, with a voice unlike any other writer's, makes these losers funny, plausible and absolutely winning.
added by steevohenderson | editPublishers Weekly (May 1, 2000)
The freakish, cowed characters filling Saunders's acclaimed debut, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline (1995), have spawned a new crop of unhappy, scabrously comic campers in these six stories, as the struggle among them to be happy and do the right thing continues.

Being inside the teeming heads of these folks is amusing and enlightening. So accurately are they rendered, in all their flawed glory, that they appear not only perfectly human but familiar.

added by steevohenderson | editKirkus Reviews (Apr 1, 2000)

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I have to admit I'm not feeling my best. Not that I'm doing so bad. Not that I really have anything to complain about. Not that I would actually verbally complain if I did have something to complain about. No. Because I'm Thinking Positive/ Saying Positive. I'm sitting back on my haunches, waiting for people to poke in their heads. Although it's been thirteen days since anyone poked in their head and Janet's speaking English to me more and more, which is partly why I feel so, you know, crummy.
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Named by The New Yorker as one of the Twenty Best American Fiction Writers Under Forty, George Saunders has been recognised as a visionary storyteller with a hypnotic style. Critics have place him in the tradition of Mark Twain, Thomas Pynchon and Kurt Vonnegut - 'wildly funny, pure, generous - all that a great humorist should be' said Garrison Keillor.

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Collects these stories:
"Sea Oak"
"The End of FIRPO in the World"
"The Barber's Unhappines"
"The Falls"
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