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Good news: A new piece by George Saunders

December 13, 2010 | 10:02 am


Any day that a new story by George Saunders arrives is a good day. And Monday is one of those days, thanks to the New Yorker. What you can expect from Saunders' story there:

He added some Verbaluceā„¢ to the drip, and soon I was feeling the same things but saying them better. The garden still looked nice. It was like the bushes were so tight-seeming and the sun made everything stand out? It was like any moment you expected some Victorians to wander in with their cups of tea. It was as if the garden had become a sort of embodiment of the domestic dreams forever intrinsic to human consciousness. It was as if I could suddenly discern, in this contemporary vignette, the ancient corollary through which Plato and some of his contemporaries might have strolled; to wit, I was sensing the eternal in the ephemeral.

I sat, pleasantly engaged in these thoughts, until the Verbaluceā„¢ began to wane. At which point the garden just looked nice again. It was something about the bushes and whatnot? It made you just want to lay out there and catch rays and think your happy thoughts. If you get what I mean.

Saunders is the author of "Pastoralia," "CivilWarland in Bad Decline," "The Braindead Megaphone" and "In Persuasion Nation." His signature style, science ficiton-ish, darkly comic, and deeply felt, is much admired -- he's been a bestseller and been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, a.k.a the "Genius Grant." While he's had many imitators, it's much easier to write a not-good George Saunders piece than to achieve something close to the original. This week's New Yorker brings us "Escape from Spiderhead," the real thing.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: George Saunders, right, with graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh in 2007. Credit: Carolyn Kellogg