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In Persuasion Nation
In Persuasion Nation
Author: George Saunders
George Saunders has earned enthusiastic acclaim and a devoted cult-following with his first two story collections and the recent novella The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil. With his new book, In Persuasion Nation, Saunders ups the ante in every way, and is poised to break out to a wide new audience. — The stories In Persuasi...  more » are easily his best work yet. "The Red Bow,"about a town consumed by pet-killing hysteria, won a 2004 National Magazine Award and "Bohemians," the story of two supposed Eastern European widows trying to fit in in suburban USA, is included in The Best American Short Stories 2005. His new book includes both unpublished work, and stories that first appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, and Esquire. The stories in this volume work together as a whole whose impact far exceeds the simple sum of its parts. Fans of Saunders know and love him for his sharp and hilarious satirical eye. But In Persuasion Nation also includes more personal and poignant pieces that reveal a new kind of emotional conviction in Saunders's writing.

Saunders's work in the last six years has come to be recognized as one of the strongest-and most consoling-cries in the wilderness of the millennium's political and cultural malaise. In Persuasion Nation's sophistication and populism should establish Saunders once and for all as this generation's literary voice of wisdom and humor in a time when we need it most.
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ISBN-13: 9781594482427
ISBN-10: 159448242X
Publication Date: 3/6/2007
Pages: 240
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 9 ratings
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Book Type: Paperback
Members Wishing: 8
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Judyh avatar reviewed In Persuasion Nation on + 211 more book reviews
This is a truly bizarre collection of stories, most of which I would call sci-fi or speculative fiction. I was sucked right in by the very first story, which consists of a letter from a customer service person responding to a complaint letter about the "I CAN SPEAK" product. This product goes over your baby's head and interacts with you verbally in ways your baby cannot due to their young age. Very strange idea! The entire focus of the stories is on the American consumer culture, the culture of nonstop 24/7 persuasion and marketing. Saunders takes it to some real extremes, as in the story called "My Flamboyant Grandson" in which a certain amount of marketing input must be consumed or a person gets in trouble for being unpatriotic. The story called "Jon" was also compelling, about teens living together in isolation from the rest of the world, living on commercials as their only source of input or entertainment. There were certainly some stories I liked more than others, but all in all a very unusual collection, terribly creative.

In 2006, the author was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" for "bringing to contemporary American fiction a sense of humor, pathos, and literary style all his own." Hard to argue with that :) I'm going to check out more of his writing.