PASTORALIA

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Transient
In Pastoralia elements of contemporary life are twisted, merged and amplified into a slightly skewed version of modern America. A couple live and work in a caveman theme-park, where speaking is an instantly punishable offence. A born loser attends a self-help seminar where he is encouraged to rid himself of all the people who are 'crapping in your oatmeal'. And a male exotic dancer and his family are terrorised by their decomposing aunt who visits them with a solemn message from beyond the grave. With an uncanny combination of deadpan naturalism and uproarious humour, George Saunders creates a world that is both indelibly original and yet hauntingly familiar. 

PRAISE

“Intoxicating.” —Time Out

“Exuberantly weird . . . brutally funny” —The New York Times 

“Compulsively swallowed, sweetly addictive” —San Francisco Bay Guardian 

“Demands to be reread immediately” —The Wall Street Journal 

“Hilarious and heartrending” —The Village Voice 

“Breathtaking . . . a masterpiece” —San Diego Union Tribune 

“Riveting” —U.S. News and World Report 

“Screamingly funny” —Time

“Saunders is a provocateur, a moralist, a zealot, a lefty, and a funny, funny writer, and the stories in Pastoralia delight. We’re very lucky to have them.” —Esquire 

“Breathtaking, brutally hilarious satire, a savage skewering not only of the American workplace, but of the American character itself. . . . Pastoralia is a masterpiece of unsettling comedy.” —San Diego Union Tribune 

“Artful and sophisticated. . . .truly unusual. Imagine Lewis’s Babbitt thrown into the back seat of a car going cross-country, driven by R. Crumb, Matt Groening, Lynda Barry, Harvey Pekar or Spike Jonze. That’d be a story Saunders could tell.”—The New York Times 

“The short-story collection of the year . . . Pastoralia does everything a gathering of tales is supposed to do: It touches the reader but also provokes reflection, mirth, and pain.” —Kansas City Star 

“Dazzling . . . Saunders’s misfits confront their degradations with heroic optimism; rarely have the comic nuances of suffering been tracked with such precision. These stories, injected with Saunders’s highly original blend of irony and tenderness, ride you down spirals of the absurd and fling you back to your own life, startled.” —Men’s Journal 

“A master of distilling the disorders of our time into fiction.” —Salon 

“Fiercely funny . . . [Saunders is] a master of the self-flagellating interior monologue.” —The Boston Globe