An Ardent Fan’s Notes
One reader we know who will be sitting down with this latest Saunders collection is Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, a wellknown devotee of the author’s work. “Once I discovered him, I kind of devoured everything I could find,” he says. We asked Tweedy to share his favorite reads from the existing Saunders shelf and tell us why they move him.
CIVILWARLAND IN BAD DECLINE (1996) “This may be the most quintessential George Saunders. It kind of establishes his main gifts. There’s this playful employment of jargon, just absorbing the way people really talk to each other. And a lot of it is difficult writing, but it’s never presented in that way—it’s never presented as an academic exercise, it’s never presented as anything other than a sincere, genuine reaching out, an effort to connect.”
THE BRIEF AND FRIGHTENING REIGN OF PHIL (2005) “Just because it’s so prescient. It seems more and more appropriate every year.”
“TENTH OF DECEMBER” (2011) “This illustrates something I don’t know that anybody else has ever been better at—having internal dialogue, internal thoughts, drive so much of the action in a story. That seems a difficult thing to do, to tell a story where you’re watching it but you’re also hearing and feeling what someone’s thinking as they’re moving through this environment that’s created. I don’t know anybody else that makes that feel so real.”
LINCOLN IN THE BARDO (2017) “Like a high-wire act across the Grand Canyon. It has this strange tension and beauty. It’s like a magic trick somehow.”