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Publisher's Summary

A stunning collection including the story "Sea Oak", from the number one New York Times best-selling author of the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Lincoln in the Bardo and the story collection Tenth of December, a 2013 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.

Hailed by Thomas Pynchon as "graceful, dark, authentic, and funny," George Saunders gives us, in his inventive and beloved voice, this best-selling collection of stories set against a warped, hilarious, and terrifyingly recognizable American landscape.

Includes an original song by the author.

"Pastoralia" was written and performed by George Saunders, and recorded, mixed, and mastered by Peter Coleman at Indigital Studios in Santa Cruz, California.

©2000, 2001 George Saunders (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Artful and sophisicated... truly unusual. Imagine Lewis's Babbitt thrown into the backseat of a car going cross-country, driven by R. Crumb, Matt Groening, Lynda Barry, Harvey Pekar, or Spike Jonze." (The New York Times)

"Saunders is a provocateur, a moralist, a zealot, a lefty, and a funny, funny writer, and the stories in Pastoralia delight. We're very luck to have them." (Esquire)

“Dazzling...Saunders’s misfits confront their degradations with heroic optimism; rarely have the comic nuances of suffering been tracked with such precision. These stories, injected with Saunders’s highly original blend of irony and tenderness, ride you down spirals of the absurd and fling you back to your own life, startled.” (Men’s Journal)

What listeners say about Pastoralia

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Greatest living short story author reads own work.

Saunders is a national treasure. His readings of his own work are funny, touching, edgy. Treat yourself to this marvelous book. It’s short but you will listen to it many times.

5 people found this helpful

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Our thoughts are our life

Strangeness, not to mention weirdness and the bizarre, presents at almost every corner in this collection of stories by George Saunders.

Titillation for jaded hipsters? Yes, they are... But they are also so much more because they are not two dimensional. These excursions into florid imaginings are darkly funny, solemn and so expressive of life. Our thoughts are often strange and our thoughts are our life. Is that a learning to take from the stories. Maybe.

As might have been expected, Saunders reading his own work is a pleasure to experience.

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So wonderful

This book is one of unique and poetic short stories. They are sad, beautiful, funny, and often unapologetically vulgar. The author has a one-of-a-kind style that also feels familiar, and he reads with sincerity and well-timed wit. It's truly wonderful. So, so, so, so wonderful.

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Brilliant but depressing

Great performance and sometimes brilliant writing but most of the characters lead sad and empty lives, so it’s best to listen to these stories in small chunks.

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Good writing, pointless stories

Sorry. I just don’t get the great rep Saunders has. Lincoln in the Bardo was a total mystery so I tried this collection. Not impressed.

The satire is very obvious, so there’s no anticipation. An essay would have been more effective. I think either marketing or Academia are responsible for the acclaim. His work is lost on me.

Three stars for well written sentences.

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Saunders es un genio

No sólo porque el autor lee sus cuentos, y lo hace de la manera más inmersiva posible, sino que también graba la música que aparece engrelas historias. Una verdadera joya.