When I last saw Casey and PClem we somehow got on the subject of George Saunders. Casey said that Saunders had in some sense (and I'm paraphrasing here) disappointed her, that she had grown tired of him, that he hadn't grown as an artist in a way that was pleasing to her. While still loving George Saunders, I can see what she means: turning the pages of In Persuasion Nation
I find the same basic anti-consumerist theme expressed in very similar ways in nearly every story. This is not to say that In Persuasion Nation
is not a very good book, because it is -- simply that like other people I'm growing anxious for Saunders to take his work in a different direction from time to time.
With that single reservation aside, In Persuasion Nation
is excellent -- though again it's probably most excellent for people who haven't been keeping up religiously with Saunders's work, as I have. Two of the three best stories, "CommComm"
and "Brad Carrigan, American"
, I'd seen when they were in The New Yorker
-- and in fact I'd previously see a majority of the stories in this volume before, which in fairness probably contributes significantly to my feeling that Saunders is starting to repeat himself.
I'm trying to write a positive review of this book, not a negative review, if you can believe it. All I'm saying is that In Persuasion Nation
didn't carry the same euphoric sensation as the first George Saunders story I ever read -- and how could it, really?
Maybe I need a nap.
Maybe I should just quit while I'm ahead and point you to the third of the three best stories in the book, which I hadn't seen before, "93990"
. It's the fourth of the "institutional monologues"; just scroll down.