Life as a sliced loaf

George Saunders’s masterclass in short-story writing
by
April 2021, no. 430
Buy this book

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In which four dead Russians give us a masterclass in writing and life by George Saunders

Random House, $34.99 pb, 422 pp

Life as a sliced loaf

George Saunders’s masterclass in short-story writing
by
April 2021, no. 430
George Saunders
George Saunders (Agence Opale/Alamy)

‘I consider myself more a vaudevillean than a scholar,’ George Saunders writes cheekily in his introduction to this collection. Yes, he is indeed a professor of creative writing at Syracuse University in upstate New York, a Booker Prize-winning novelist, and a regular in the pages of the New Yorker, but in A Swim in a Pond in the Rain he is first and foremost a vaudevillean: in seven short acts he sings, dances, and acts the comedian. According to Martin Amis, ‘all writers who are any good are funny’, even Kafka and Tolstoy, and he has a point. Saunders may not be quite vicious enough to qualify as ‘any good’ in Amis’s terms, but he is at least unfailingly sharp and good-humoured.

Robert Dessaix reviews 'A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In which four dead Russians give us a masterclass in writing and life' by George Saunders

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In which four dead Russians give us a masterclass in writing and life

by George Saunders

Random House, $34.99 pb, 422 pp

Buy this book

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