20 November 2006
George Saunders should be well-known to readers of mags like The New Yorker (hey look it's a video of him reading at the New Yorker Festival in October), Harper's, and Insanely Awesome Short Story Monthly. He knocked me out right from the start (the unforgettable CivilWarLand in Bad Decline) and his most recent collection should provide ample "yeah really" for his recent MacArthur "genius" fellowship. Combining an uncanny knack for public-relations speak with a total disregard for boundaries like mortality, physics, or sanity, many of his stories take place in a disturbingly plausible near-future where teens are sold into market research camps and torn corners of candy wrappers become false gods. But inside all the frizz (and don't worry, some stories are just about, you know, normal people), a truthful heart beats, and it beats for you.