What a treat, to have George Saunders as a guide! He dives deep into stories he's taught for years, emanating a joy and respect for the craft of storytelling that's incredibly inviting. A delightfully enjoyable and approachable book that has enriched all my reading ever since I picked it up. Recommended By Michelle C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the New York Times bestselling, Booker Prize-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December, a literary masterclass on what makes great stories work, how to write them yourself, and what they can tell us about our world today.
In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, George Saunders guides the reader through seven classic Russian short stories he's been teaching for twenty years as a professor in the prestigious Syracuse University graduate MFA creative writing program. Paired with stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, these essays are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it's more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.
Saunders approaches each of these stories technically yet accessibly, and through them explains how narrative functions; why we stay immersed in a story and why we resist it; and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster. For the process of writing, Saunders reminds us, is as much a craft as it is a quality of openness and a willingness to see the world through new eyes.
Funny, frank, and rigorous, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain ultimately shows how great fiction can change a person's life and become a benchmark of one's moral and ethical beliefs.
"An invaluable and uniquely pleasurable master course and a generous celebration of reading, writing, and all the ways literature enriches our lives." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Saunders offers lessons from his graduate-level seminar on the Russian short story in this superb mix of instruction and literary criticism....Saunders's generous teachings — and the classics they're based on — are sure to please." Publishers Weekly
"Fans of Saunders's stories...have craved this book for a long time, and he has not disappointed. Saunders has disassembled the novel as a form and put it back together in a fascinating shape." John Freeman, The Boston Globe
About the Author
George Saunders is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of ten books, including Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the Man Booker Prize; Congratulations, by the way; Tenth of December, a finalist for the National Book Award; The Braindead Megaphone; and the critically acclaimed short story collections CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, Pastoralia, and In Persuasion Nation. He teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.