‘A Swim in a Pond in the Rain’ by George Saunders: An Impassioned Introduction

by Colton Alstatt

George Saunders’ A Swim in a Pond in the Rain (432 pages; Random House) is a warm introduction to the Russian masters of literature—warm as a house party: “Reader, meet my friends Tolstoy, Chekov, Gogol, Turgenev. Russian masters, meet my reader.” Using his experience teaching stories by these authors, Saunders is a generous guide inspired by his love of the short story, whether masterful or imperfect. As he scans the seven stories included in his book, Saunders has fun as he works for ways a prospective writer might create similarly enigmatic stories. Neither inefficient nor blocky, these discussions are the […]

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