Despite an irritatingly chummy New York Times Magazine intro entitled “George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year”, Saunders’ stories thankfully need no such facile trumpeting.
They are verbally dextrous, vividly surreal and often very funny tales set in a skewed vision of America: in “Escape from Spiderhead” a human guinea pig in a clinical trial rebels against his oppressors; in “My Chivalric Fiasco” a janitor in a medieval theme park harbours ideas above his station. The centrepiece is the remarkable “The Semplica Girl Diaries”, whose beleaguered protagonist wins our sympathy despite his obsession with purchasing a particularly grotesque garden ornament.
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