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Liberation Day: Stories (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I’ve really missed Saunders’ short story collections, his groupings of sickly sweet tales that go down so deceptively quick and easy that you get gassy from all the emotions you just chugged.  Snobbishly, I was quite well-that-was-cool’d by LINCOLN IN THE BARDO and ELLIOTT SPENCER (2019 New Yorker piece [is it snobbishly or snobbingly?], also here in LIBDAY) as I’m always glad to see my faves going to town with experimentation.  Obsessively, SWIM IN A POND had me jumping up and down as it granted me E tickets to his brainpark!  But worriedly, I was getting a little, uh, worried that he had indefinitely moved on from short story collections.   It’s classic fanboy “why-isn’t-he-doing-the-thing-I-like-that-he-did-but-doing-it-now-and-all-the-time-the-way-I-like-it” gerbage that I try to keep at bay, but is always just around the corner of Verbal Drive and Diarrhea Lane.  Well, with LIBDAY, Saunders threw a pie in that fanboy’s face, did a Daffy Duck woohoo-woohoo and disappeared in a Saunders-shaped poof of smoke.  Piefaced and glowing, I witnessed, in one sitting (hovering by the end), all those beloved Saundersisms unleashed, with every flavor and range of emotion given to and taken from me-the-reader.    Patience (fanboy kryptonite) proves worth-it in the end.  This is a wonderful collection and, pleasantly sated, this obsessive worrywart snob looks forward to any and all that GS holds for the future.

— From Ian McCord


Booker Prize winner George Saunders returns with a collection of short stories that grapple with the complexities of our increasingly troubled world, his first since the New York Times bestseller Tenth of December.

The “best short-story writer in English” (Time) is back with a masterful collection that explores ideas of power, ethics, and justice and cuts to the very heart of what it means to live in community with our fellow humans. With his trademark prose—wickedly funny, unsentimental, and exquisitely tuned—Saunders continues to challenge and surprise: Here is a collection of prismatic, resonant stories that encompass joy and despair, oppression and revolution, bizarre fantasy and brutal reality.

“Love Letter” is a tender missive from grandfather to grandson, in the midst of a dystopian political situation in the (not too distant, all too believable) future, that reminds us of our obligations to our ideals, ourselves, and one another. “Ghoul” is set in a Hell-themed section of an underground amusement park in Colorado and follows the exploits of a lonely, morally complex character named Brian, who comes to question everything he takes for granted about his reality. In “Mother’s Day,” two women who loved the same man come to an existential reckoning in the middle of a hailstorm. In “Elliott Spencer,” our eighty-nine-year-old protagonist finds himself brainwashed, his memory “scraped”—a victim of a scheme in which poor, vulnerable people are reprogrammed and deployed as political protesters. And “My House”—in a mere seven pages—comes to terms with the haunting nature of unfulfilled dreams and the inevitability of decay.

Together, these nine subversive, profound, and essential stories coalesce into a case for viewing the world with the same generosity and clear-eyed attention Saunders does, even in the most absurd of circumstances.

About the Author

George Saunders is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eleven books, including A Swim in a Pond in the Rain; Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the Booker Prize; Congratulations, by the Way; Tenth of December, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the inaugural Folio Award; The Braindead Megaphone; and the critically acclaimed collections CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, Pastoralia, and In Persuasion Nation. He teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.

Praise For…

Praise for George Saunders

“No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“A true artist charting hidden creative territory.”—Colson Whitehead, The New York Times

“Saunders makes you feel as though you are reading fiction for the first time.”—Khaled Hosseini

“One of the most gifted, wickedly entertaining story writers around.”—New York Times Book Review

“Subversive, hilarious, and emotionally piercing: Few writers can encompass that range of adjectives, but Saunders is a true original—restlessly inventive, yet deeply humane.”—Jennifer Egan

“The best short-story writer in English—not ‘one of,’ not ‘arguably,’ but the Best.”—Mary Karr, Time

“Saunders is a gentle giant in American letters whose fiction frequently champions the downtrodden and satirizes a society rife with economic inequality.”The Wall Street Journal

“Nothing has been read its last rites more frequently than the American short story. George Saunders proves, yet again, to be the form’s one-man defibrillator.”Harper’s Magazine

“A master of contemporary fiction.”Kirkus Reviews
Product Details
ISBN: 9780525509592
ISBN-10: 0525509593
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: October 18th, 2022
Pages: 256
Language: English