Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nearly the Most Powerful Short Story I've Ever Read*

It's only January, but already Joel Lovell, writing in the New York Times (here), has confidently declared that "George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You'll Read This Year." I believe Mr. Lovell might be right.

I don't usually read books based on reviews (although they sometimes help me avoid reading certain books), and I hadn't read any of Saunders' earlier stories, but I couldn't pass up such a strong recommendation. I've been reading his new collection, Tenth of December (Random House 2013).

Last night I read the fourth story in the volume, "Escape from Spiderhead," and all I can say is WOW!!! 

Thank you Mr. Lovell for your great review, and thank you Mr. Saunders for amazing me.

*On balance, I'd say J.D. Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" remains the single most powerful short story I've read (though, admittedly, I'm not really a connoisseur of the form). My favorite short story, however, is the opposite of powerful; it is Thomas Mann's lyrical, "A Man and His Dog."

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