by George Saunders
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Pub Date 18 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 18 Oct 2022
The first short story collection in ten years from the Man Booker Prize-winning, New York Times-bestselling author of Lincoln in the Bardo.
MacArthur genius and Booker Prize-winner George Saunders returns with a collection of short stories that make sense of our increasingly troubled world, his first since the New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist Tenth of December
The 'best short story writer in English' (Time) is back with a masterful collection that explores ideas of power, ethics, and justice, and cuts to the very heart of what it means to live in community with our fellow humans. With his trademark prose - wickedly funny, unsentimental, and perfectly tuned - Saunders continues to challenge and surprise: here is a collection of prismatic, deeply resonant stories that encompass joy and despair, oppression and revolution, bizarre fantasy and brutal reality.
'Love Letter' is a tender missive from grandfather to grandson, in the midst of a dystopian political situation in the not-too-distant future, that reminds us of our obligations to our ideals, ourselves, and each other. 'Ghoul' is set in a Hell-themed section of an underground amusement park in Colorado, and follows the exploits of a lonely, morally complex character named Brian, who comes to question everything he takes for granted about his 'reality.' In 'Mother's Day', two women who loved the same man come to an existential reckoning in the middle of a hailstorm. And in 'Elliott Spencer', our eighty-nine-year-old protagonist finds himself brainwashed - his memory 'scraped' - a victim of a scheme in which poor, vulnerable people are reprogrammed and deployed as political protesters.
Together, these nine subversive, profound, and essential stories coalesce into a case for viewing the world with the same generosity and clear-eyed attention as Saunders does, even in the most absurd of circumstances.
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Average rating from 47 members
I received an advance review copy of Liberation Day from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I'm so pleased to have read this collection of short stories from George Saunders, clearly a master of the form. Saunders stories are often dystopian and look at the darker side of humanity. He continues these themes and considers how people justify their unethical behaviour. His use of language is superb, he conveys so much just with his style.
The first and penultimate stories in the collection have slightly similar premises, in that in each story someone has been stripped of their identity and is being exploited by others just in very different ways. Another story has a grandfather advise his grandson in a letter about whether to stand up for a friend or hide, but also the grandfather has to try to justify his lack of action when society was unravelling. There is a contemporary relevance to all the stories. They are fascinating, haunting, brilliantly written and thought provoking.