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From the New York Times bestselling author of Tenth of December, a 2013 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.
Hailed by Thomas Pynchon as "graceful, dark, authentic, and funny," George Saunders now surpasses his New York Times Notable Book, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, with this bestselling collection of stories set against a warped, hilarious, and terrifyingly recognizable American landscape.
One of Entertainment Weekly’s Ten Best Books of the Year
"Artful and sophisicated... truly unusual. Imagine Lewis's Babbitt thrown into the backseat of a car going cross-country, driven by R. Crumb, Matt Groening, Lynda Barry, Harvey Pekar, or Spike Jonze." -- The New York Times
"Saunders is a provocateur, a moralist, a zealot, a lefty, and a funny, funny writer, and the stories in Pastoralia delight. We're very luck to have them." -- Esquire
Jade says “regicide” is a virus. Min locates Biafra one planet from Saturn. I offer to help and they start yelling at me for condescending. “You’re lucky, man!” my sister says. “You did high school. You got your frigging diploma. We don’t. That’s why we have to do this GED shit. If we had our diplomas we could just watch TV and not be all distracted.” “Really,” says Jade. “Now shut it, chick! We got to study. Show’s almost on.” They debate how many sides a triangle has. They agree that
close my eyes and wrap Bernie up in the Hefty bag and twistie-tie the bag shut and lug it out to the trunk of the K-car. I throw in a shovel. I drive up to St. Leo’s. I lower the bag into the hole using a bungee cord, then fill the hole back in. Down in the city are the nice houses and the so-so houses and the lovers making out in dark yards and the babies crying for their moms, and I wonder if, other than Jesus, this has ever happened before. Maybe it happens all the time. Maybe there’s angry
called off her friends and two months later married Phil Anpesto, that idiotic beanpole. Oh, he was tired of hiding his toes. He wanted to be open about them. He wanted to be loved in spite of them. Maybe this girl had a wisdom beyond her years. Maybe her father had a deformity, a glass eye or facial scar, maybe through long years of loving this kindly but deformed man she had come to almost need the man she loved to be somewhat deformed. Not that he liked the idea of her trotting after a bunch
the mirror were his age-spotted deltoids and his age-spotted roundish pecs and his strange pale love handles. Ma resettled against the door with a big whump. “So what’s the conclusion, lover boy?” she said. “Are you canceling? Are you calling up and canceling?” “No I’m not,” he said. “Well, poor her,” Ma said. 8. Every morning of his life he’d walked out between Ma’s twin rose trellises. When he went to grade school, when he went to junior high, when he went to high school, when he
supposed to get better if you get kicked out of rehab? What did you steal this time? Did you steal a stereo again? Who’s Mr. Doe?” “I didn’t steal nothing, Ma,” he says. “Doe’s my counselor. I borrowed something. A TV. The TV from the lounge. I just felt like I could get better a lot faster if I had a TV in my room. So I took control of my recovery. Is that so bad? I thought that’s what I was there for, you know? I’m not saying I did everything perfect. Like I probably shouldn’t of sold it.”