Thom Geier
April 14, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In Persuasion Nation

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
George Saunders
publisher
Riverhead
genre
Fiction, Short Stories

We gave it a B+

George Saunders’ sensibility is Pynchon-meets-Wonder Showzen, often taking ideas to illogical extremes: A man objects to ”Samish-Sex Marriage” (”Isn’t it odd that this somewhat effeminate man should be married to this somewhat masculine woman?”). The lead character of a past-its-prime sitcom laments, ”Now it’s basically all mean talk and jokes about poop and butts. He and Doris used to talk about real issues, about them, their relationship…” While Saunders’ send-ups of media-fixated culture tend to blend together, his best tales in In Persuasion Nation — like ”Christmas,” about a 26-year-old back in his hometown with a dead-end roofing job — poignantly capture the struggles of recognizable people.

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