Peopled by quirky people in odd situations, George Saunders’ CivilWarLand in Bad Decline presents a demented near-future. The single thread through all these situations, through the future amusement parks and decaying towns, are real people, often broken, usually vulnerable, and always memorable. Just a couple of examples: In The Wavemaker Falters, the narrator faces his wife’s betrayal while trying to deal with the terrifying consequences of not paying attention to the wavemaker and inlet ports. In Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz, a man struggles with guilt about his deceased wife while creatively finding a way for atonement through a sweet and elderly lady who lives in Rockettown while his customer enjoys the Violated Prom Queen personal holographic module.
Thomas Pynchon said “an astoundingly tuned voice–graceful, dark, authentic, and funny–telling just the kinds of stores we need to get us through these times.” Jay McInerney exclaimed “the quirkiest and most accomplished short-story debut since Barry Hannah’s Airships.” And The New York Times wrote “Mr. Saunders’ satiric vision of America is dark and demented; it is also ferocious and very funny.”
A wonderful, amazing book. Check it out here.