Saturday, June 25, 2011
Short Story Saturday: Home by George Saunders
The backstory: When I went to see Karen Russell and Julie Orringer earlier this year, I asked them about who and what they were reading and how their reading habits differed while writing. Both mentioned George Saunders as a perennial source of information. I've never read Saunders (largely because he doesn't write novels, which I am most prone to read.) I mostly forgot about it until The New Yorker Summer Fiction issue I arrived. I was thrilled to see a George Saunders story in it.
My thoughts: There's a disorientation to this story I appreciate more in retrospect than I did initially. The reader is dumped right into the action. The story is predominantly conversational. All the action comes in dialogue. The reader doesn't have background or exposition and must use the conversational clues to make sense of the action and relationships between the characters. Initially, I was struck how play-like the story was. I pictured the events and conversations happening on a stage.
I appreciated the social commentary. It was restrained yet forceful. The characters were well-imagined. Technically, it was impressive, so I understand why writers like Saunders. Did I love it? No. I liked it. I respect it. It didn't inspire me to read an entire collection, but I'm glad to have a glimpse of George Saunders as a short story writer, and I am curious to read more of his stories.
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Source: The New Yorker, June 13, 2011 (I subscribe)
Now tell me: do you like George Saunders? What should I explore next?