Over the past month or so, the media have been falling over themselves praising writer George Saunders
- look here
at The New York Times Magazine
at NPR, for example. And I felt a bit dim since, not only had I never heard of the guy, but I really like reading short stories (apparently Saunders' preferred genre) and
the guy had done a bunch of his early writing right here in Rochester. And, on top of that, he is, as the reporters allege, funny and politically incisive. (Try this mocking personal reflection
on his youthful love affair with Ayn Rand at The New Yorker.
) So, this afternoon I read The Brief & Frightening Reign of Phil
* and it too pretty much confirms the press reports. It is a book about borders, among other things. The red string and green string and the conflagrations they induce bring to mind in some ways not just politics writ large but border patrols in the department where I work.
Just before his demise, having usurped Presidential powers, co-opted
the media, implemented his repressive 'Border Area Improvement
Initiative' and punished citizens suspected of disloyalty for voicing
qualms about the genocide, Phil warned: "I wouldn't be surprised if
some of us didn't start getting smaller and doing mathematical proofs.
We'll have to watch that. We'll have to be vigilant."
* George Saunders. 2005. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil. Riverhead/Penguin.
Labels: George Saunders, literature, New Books, politics, Rochester, UR