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Showing posts from September, 2014

Gazing as a form of love

George Saunders has been on my shelf since I picked up his latest collection, Tenth of December, in a small thrift shop in Grand Marais on the north shore this last January during the Polar Vortex. Tenth of December is my first introduction to Saunders who, while ubiquitously praised by critics and literary journals, is largely unknown in Britain.

Saunders is David Foster Wallace’s older, wiser, mellower relation. While Saunders replaces DFW’s frenetic braininess with wryness, both share an excellent ear for American vernacular and a fiction which confronts banality with a largely humane satire. (‘Deeply humane’ is Jennifer Egan’s phrase on the cover jacket. A future project in this blog may be a close reading of jacket puffery in general).

In the ten stories of the collection, Saunders takes the flat, cheery-hollow prose of American speech and, by an effective use of ellipsis, turns it into style. This is particularly notable in my favourite story in the collection, ‘The Semplica Girl …