Thursday, May 03, 2007

In Persuasion Nation by George Saunders

Okay I think this is going to be my first not so good review. Normally when I read a book I will put it down if it is bad, and in doing so will not feel inclined to review it. However there was just something different about this book that I had to press on. A lot like when I read "Moby Dick," okay really that was just something I wanted to achieve.

George Saunders' book "In Persuasion Nation" is a collection of short stories that push the absurd. I will admit that some of the stories are actually quite funny such as "I CAN SPEAK" and "My Flamboyant Grandson." The strange thing about all the stories in this book are they either hit or miss. The stories are very futuristic in feel. They also are written in such surrealism that the messages some contain are hidden. Yes there are some good philosophical messages in these stories. Messages about society's impulse to be popular and "in" and a message or two about how media and advertising go a bit too far. Some of the messages are so well hidden that the story itself becomes boring.

Yes there are some extremely boring stories in this book. On a scale of 1 - 10, I would have to rate this book right in the middle at 5. At times there is some great storytelling and wit but equally there are times when it is just plain boring and seems like a chore to read.

The story "I CAN SPEAK" is written as if it is a letter to a customer who purchased an "I CAN SPEAK" system which is a mask to put over the heads of infants to make voices come out. This makes it look like the customer has a smart baby. The letter written to the customer explains how the system only gives that appearance and that it is great. This is one of the funny stories.

I guess what it comes down to is, check this book out from the library. I can't recommend purchasing it.

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