I kind of don’t even want to get into it, except to just say that this short story collection is just frigging incredible. I’m usually not a big fan of short story collections, but this one is really superlative. Saunders is an amazing author and he has a great way of sort of dropping you in the middle of a character’s life and then slowly letting you understand what’s happening in a very elliptical way. His prose is fast-paced, energetic, often hilariously funny and extremely conversational; this is a very, very easy book to read. I blew through it in just a couple of days. Some of the stories, like Escape from Spiderhead, have some sci-fi elements; others, like the best story in the book, Home, are just pained explorations of real life. The stories are often deeply sad and often deeply hilarious, often on the very same page. And, as conversational as Saunders’ prose is, there are moments of real evocative beauty. I don’t even really want to tell you which stories or even hint at which moments I loved the most, because this is a book that you really need to experience on your own terms. All I can really say is that you really do just have to read this book. It’s been acclaimed by countless publications as one of the best books of 2013 and it deserves every bit of praise it’s received. Honestly, I got about five pages into the first story and there’s a shocking twist and I admit that I was hooked immediately; my energy and interest never waned for the rest of the book. Give it a chance to hook you and I bet it will. It’s astonishingly powerful, ridiculously entertaining, deeply thought provoking and endlessly fascinating; what a page-turner. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – book of imaginative, fascinating and thought-provoking short stories is conversational, gripping and endlessly entertaining; nothing short of brilliant. 4 stars.