Johnny America


Book Re­view: Civil­War­Land in Bad De­cline by George Saunders


A thin vol­ume con­sist­ing of six short sto­ries and a novel­la; each piece de­pict­ing a slice of a post-apoc­a­lyp­tic near fu­ture. Not sci­ence fic­tion. Writ­ten by George Saun­ders. Tone ranges wide­ly be­tween sto­ries; fluc­tu­at­ing from ab­sur­di­ty ri­val­ing Von­negut’s Cat’s Cra­dle to dark fu­til­i­ty equal­ing El­lison’s I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream. Most of the pro­tag­o­nists should be mis­an­thropes, but are not. “Of­fload­ing for Mrs. Schwartz,” “The Wave­mak­er Fal­ters,” “Down­trod­den Mary’s Failed Cam­paign of Ter­ror,” and “Boun­ty” are par­tic­u­lar­ly good. A won­der­ful book.

Filed under Books on July 10th, 2003

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