Archives For George Saunders


[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0812995341″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”224″]This week marks the release of George Saunders’s debut novel:

Lincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders

Hardback: Random House, 2017
Buy Now:  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”0812995341″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [  [easyazon_link identifier=”B01FPH2N0C” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]

George Saunders has been renowned over the last two decades for his short stories. Since we are running a review of the book by Brent Schnipke in our Lent 2017 magazine, I asked Brett Wiley to write a short reflection that was less review and more setting the novel in the context of his earlier work…

By W. Brett Wiley

George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo, like many of the stories in earlier collections, creates a strange version of the real world, but, remarkably, it all seems entirely plausible. The novel, Saunders’ first, meets Aristotle’s famous requirement for art: “a probable impossibility is to be preferred to a thing improbable and yet possible.” The impossible is easy to identify. The novel is populated, mostly, by ghosts of Georgetown’s Oak Hill Cemetery who, as the title of the novel suggests, are in the bardo, a liminal space between death and rebirth described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The novel opens with three main characters, all ghosts, welcoming Willie Lincoln—the sixteenth president’s second son who died on February 20, 1862—to the afterlife. The historical event of Willie’s death suggests that the book is historical fiction, but it is not. In fact, like many of Saunders’ short stories, the genre is difficult to nail down. Previous stories have taken unusual forms including a lab report, a corporate complaint letter response, a memo, and diary entries.

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

  [easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”0812995341″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”336″]

[easyazon_link identifier=”0812995341″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel[/easyazon_link]

George Saunders

Read the starred review from Publishers Weekly… 



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Next week brings my favorite conference,
the biennial Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College!

We will have a booth in the Exhibit Hall…
Please do stop by and see us,
pick up a FREE copy of our newest print issue, and
enter to win some of the hundreds of dollars of prizes that we will be giving away!

Here’s a guide to the sessions that I would most like to attend
(No more than one per time-slot).

Although there are many other excellent sessions that run concurrently with each of these.
( Times are subject to vary. Consult your Festival program onsite to confirm time and location )

Thursday April 14 – P.M.

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[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0812996275″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”234″ alt=”George Saunders” ]As announced in yesterday’s list of new book releases to watch for this week, one of this week’s most interesting books is:

Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness.
George Saunders

Hardback:  Random House, 2014.
Buy now:  [ [easyazon-link asin=”0812996275″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link]  ]   [ [easyazon-link asin=”B00G1J1DCI” locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ] 
You can actually read the full text of George Saunders’ 2013 Syracuse graduation speech here, but this is a lovely hardback edition that would make a wonderful gift for your family and friends who are graduating this spring.   I can think of no better advice to graduates than what Saunders offers here: to prefer kindness to self-focused ambition.
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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

[easyazon-image align=”center” asin=”0385536577″ locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”” width=”329″ alt=”New Book Releases”] > > > >
Next Book

[easyazon-link asin=”0385536577″ locale=”us”]Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace[/easyazon-link]

by Nikil Saval

Read a review from the NY Times

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[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0812993802″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”226″ alt=”George Saunders” ]Haunting and Compassionate
A Feature Review of

The Tenth of December: Stories

George Saunders

Hardback: Random House, 2013.
Buy now:  [ [easyazon-link asin=”0812993802″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]   [ [easyazon-link asin=”B008LMB4C2″ locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]
Reviewed by Matt Miles.
     “Victory Lap”, the first story in Tenth of December, covers a topic that’s been making its rounds again in public conversation of late: helicopter parenting. What separates George Saunders’s short story from the bulk of articles and opinion columns reveals an almost embarrassing oversight for the latter: the narrative belongs to the children themselves. This choice serves the darkly funny and disturbing tone of the story without betraying a true sense of compassion that runs throughout. That sense of empathy runs through all of Saunders’s stories in general, and the ones in Tenth of December are no exception. No matter how outrageous or surreal his stories are, a sort of kindness grounds them, making them worthy of multiple rereads.
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