In Persuasion Nation.

Position:Book review

**** In Persuasion Nation Stories By George Saunders An absurd land.

George Saunders's fictional world limns the edges of absurdity. Polar bears perform Sisyphean tasks, focus groups hold children hostage, and reality TV is driven to even more grotesque extremes. These flights of experimental fiction make the family ghosts in "CommComm" reenacting their own murder seem downright plausible. Saunders's newest collection of 12 short stories balances the serious and the absurd as the author seeks out the soul that remains in a world gone mad with marketing. That he finds it amid the grotesqueries of his fictional scenarios, and does so while maintaining plausibility, testifies to his singular intelligence. Riverhead. 240 pages. $23.95. ISBN: 159448922X

Minneapolis Star-Tribune ****1/2

"Nothing but a burning love for humanity could drive someone to the bizarre lengths to which he goes. He is a resistance fighter on the front lines of the war on independent thought, battling those who would numb our minds for profit." KRISTIN TILLOTSON

NY Times Book Review ****1/2

"Expertly made, unmistakably his, [his goods will] be consumed with gusto by the loyal customers who enjoyed CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia. It's the kind of ironic twist he delights in: George Saunders, sworn enemy of commodification, is in danger of becoming a dependable brand name." ADAM BEGLEY

Oregonian ****

"These stories are funny, often absurd, and, upon reflection, utterly serious. It is the kind of humor that makes your belly ache and your stomach turn." SARAH GIANELLI

Dallas Morning News ***1/2

"He has a dead-perfect ear for our nervous babble, the pathetic contrivances of grammar and corporate-speak that we use to hide the dreadful." JEROME WEEKS

San Francisco Chronicle ***1/2

"No...

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