George Saunders Archive

“There’s only one subject. That’s the trouble”: DeLillo and Saunders in 2017

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The first paragraph I wrote after reading Saunders’s essay felt exhausting. Every sentence felt vague and hollow. But good: a feeling akin to my physical therapist standing beside me, correcting the form on my squats. Painful but good when I got it right.

Round-Up: Mark Twain, George Saunders, and Barack Obama

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From Mark Twain's unpublished story to Former President Obama's relationship with books, here's the latest literary news.

Speaking of Megaphones: Why Reading Literature Now Might Be Useful

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I could spin many narratives for why I wanted this series. Instead I'll be honest with you: it was mostly for my own sanity. Maybe you've got a better handle on this than I do, but my way of engaging with our daily media does not feel particularly healthy,

How a Polar Bear with an Axe in its Head Might Save You: Two Stories by George Saunders

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The Inner Hornerites finally have chance to strike back. They've been taxed and belittled, imprisoned in a Short-Term Residency Zone, their friend Cal disassembled by Phil's Special Friends before their eyes.

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Who Are All These Trump Supporters?” by George Saunders

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It’s easy—reflexive, even—to be snarky and closed off to genuine emotion when writing about this election season, which is why it’s nice to read a piece rooted in genuine concern and the desire to understand people, especially people whose beliefs seem to us impossibly far removed from our own.

Origin Stories: Zachary Tyler Vickers’s CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR MARTYRDOM!

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In the first story of Zachary Tyler Vickers’s remarkable new collection, Congratulations on Your Martyrdom!, an origami hobbyist with pathologically stubby fingers is stuffed like the roadkill he prepares for children. If you’re looking for the fiction about married people drinking lattes, this probably isn’t the book for you.

The Words Beneath the Sound: Music Inspired by Literature

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As Virginia Woolf famously observed, the best writing often begins with a rhythmical “wave in the mind,” an inner tempo around which syntax and diction are arranged, a guiding beat of artistic intuition that, when struck upon, makes it nearly impossible to set down the wrong word. Other writers

An Interview with Jennine Capo Crucet

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I first met Jennine on the dance floor in a barn on a summer night at Breadloaf. Or at least I like to remember it that way. She’s an electric person, both in the flesh and on the page. She says the unexpected, and also the uncomfortable and necessary. She’s

The Long Death Of Genre Distinction

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The latest lit dust-up over genre involved Kazuo Ishiguro and Ursula K. Le Guin. In a review of Ishiguro’s new book The Buried Giant, Le Guin took umbrage at some remarks he made to the New York Times. “Will readers follow me into this?” went Ishiguro’s offending comment. “Will they

The Saving Thing

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Mark Twain called humor “the great thing, the saving thing,” and indeed I have yet to meet the person who doesn’t like to laugh. Why, then, aren’t a greater number of humorous stories published in literary journals? Why don’t more humorous books—or films, for that matter—win prizes? “In the