Deborah Solomon, the New York Times interviewer who devoted an extensive, worshipful profile* to Jonathan Safran Foer last year, calls George Saunders’ work “essentially a nostalgia fest…. it drips with sentiment about things it pretends to ridicule.”
Q: Your new collection of short stories, “In Persuasion Nation,” presents America as a commerce-saturated but happy place where children go to live with market-research firms and giant Twinkies run through fields of flowers. Is it fair to call you an ecstatic appreciator of trash culture?
Excuse me. Can we require readers to read my books before they continue with this interview?
Saunders’ In Persuasion Nation, which I’m reading and enjoying, appears next month.
* “Foer can be surprisingly intimate when he is on the record. His letters, much like his fiction, are conceived ‘as an end to loneliness,’ as he once put it in an e-mail message. And while most of the letters in the world — at least the good ones — are similarly written to allay our loneliness, Foer seems haunted by an aching awareness of the probability of defeat. What, in the end, can we really know of one another?”