Monday, May 27, 2013

George Saunders

George Saunders's fourth collection of stories is Tenth of December.

From his Q & A with Killian Fox for the Guardian:

I was intrigued to learn that you were once a fan of Ayn Rand. For a writer so alert to how capitalism can grind people down, that's unexpected.

It's kind of a sweet story. I was in high school in Chicago, not really doing any work. Neither of my parents had been to college so to me it wasn't a big thing. Then two teachers started taking an interest in me and giving me books, and one was Atlas Shrugged. I hadn't read a novel since third grade, and if you're a crummy reader sometimes bad art can do magical things. She appeals to a certain kind of adolescent male, I think, and she definitely got me.

So I went to college and read all the rest of the books and she was sort of my patron saint. Then you get an uncomfortable moment where you realise there's this little bag you're holding that's filling up with phenomena that don't really fit the model. And that bag got heavier and heavier. My family ran into some financial problems. And I thought, she would not understand what we're going through. She'd equate it with some kind of moral weakness on our part. And then after college I went to Asia and saw some things there that made the bag really heavy, and at some point I just said, "I don't get her any more, I'll set her down." Only years later I was like, "Oh my God, she's very dangerous." But I like that. I like the idea that someone can change. You could be a rabid right-winger one moment and then…

… you're forced to completely reassess your views. And I imagine you'd learn a lot in the process.

Exactly, because you've embraced the opposite view totally non-ironically so you can understand it. Even now, I look at...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue