I had read two of the stories in George Saunders’ new collection, Liberation Day, already. Several of the stories had run in The New Yorker, and I had read them there. At first I was bummed about that. I had this pristine library book before me, and I wanted to enjoy all of it. But some of it I had already enjoyed. (I’m not big on rereading. Never have been. That’s just a personal preference.)
However, once I started reading I had a grand time. The stories were so strange and interesting and creative. There’s nothing like a George Saunders story. I skipped one of the stories I had already read. As to the other story I had already read, I accidentally read it again, because by the time I realized I had read it before I was already a ways into it, and I decided to finish. (The story was good the second time around, but there were spoilers, naturally, as I had read it before.)
To give you a taste of Saunders, here’s how one of the stories, “Mother’s Day,” begins:
“The trees along Pine Street that every spring bloomed purple flowers had bloomed purple flowers. So what? What was the big deal? It happened every spring.”
—George Saunders, Liberation Day
Here Saunders is lampooning the cynical attitude that so many people adopt throughout their lives. Literally—is there anything more lovely than flowers blooming in springtime? And yet the narrator wants to situate herself above everything: even beauty itself. You want to shake her and say, “Have some humility! You’ll be happier that way!”
And that’s just the beginning of the story. Wait till you get to the end. . . .
Are you finding beauty to enjoy in your life, every single day?