My friend, Sarah, introduced me to George Saunders’ fiction. Sarah and I were in graduate school together, and one afternoon, she appeared at my Norwich flat with a copy of Pastoralia.
I read the collection of short stories twice in one sitting. Then, I dashed to the first person I could find – my then boyfriend – and shoved the book in his face.
“You must read this,” I said to him. “My god, Saunders is so funny. But the stories are so tragic.”
He read the stories while I made dinner, and each time he howled with laughter, I rushed into the living room and said, “What part are you on? Read it! Read it aloud to me.”
If you’ve not had the pleasure of reading Saunders’ work, you can find some of his stories here. “Sea Oak” is one of my favorites. He’s won numerous awards for his shorts stories, novellas, and other pieces.
During the Basic Elements of Creative Fiction Writing class, we’ll spend some time reading and discussing great works of contemporary fiction, and a story or two by George Saunders will definitely make the reading list.