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In Persuasion Nation Paperback – 6 Mar 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (6 Mar. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159448242X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594482427
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 216,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Talking candy bars, baby geniuses, disappointed mothers, castrated dogs, interned teenagers, and moral fables-all in this hilarious and heartbreaking collection. The best work yet from an author hailed as the heir to Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon.

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Our enemies will first assail the health of our commerce, throwing up this objection and that to innovative methods and approaches designed to expand our prosperity, and thus our freedom. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 56 reviews
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Read This Book 27 April 2006
By BJ DuPont - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For objectivity's sake: I am a big fan of George Saunders' fiction and non-fiction alike. I see In Persuasion Nation as a step forward into new territories and places (always in Saunders' fiction, there is the place -- CivilWarLand, the land of Inner Horner, alternate universes where our advertising creations live lives close to our own), if not a giant leap ahead. Saunders' keeps it simple, but provocative: the world and all of its inhabitants are sacred, so why do we squander all of that precious sanctity brutalizing each other? This theme winds its way throughout this collection in ways both stark and hilarious. The prose is grounded in the way we say things, which casts an even stronger light on those passages that are transcendent in their simple and precise lyricism (here I am thinking especially of the ending to "CommComm", which I think is maybe Saunders' strongest story yet). If Saunders' deep concern with humanity comes across as saccharine at times, I think that's more of a comment on where we're at than where his fiction is, cause if you can't come to care for this cast of characters (which includes an orange and a polar bear with a hatchet in his head), then, well . . .
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
'Which I can only describe as Nothing-Is-Excluded...' 5 Sept. 2006
By Ryan Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Warped environments, pitch-perfect prose, corporate strong-arming, roof-tarring, talking baby masks, humanity down but not out.

George Saunders is back and skewering consumerist largesse as never before.

Let's not beat about the bush: In Persuasion Nation is an uneven collection. 'Brad Corrigan, American', 'My Flamboyant Grandson', and 'My Amendment' are slight pieces: they rely on conceits that don't carry the necessary weight. But then when we get to 'CommComm', 'The Red Bow' and 'Bohemians'...and you feel the way Raymond Carver's readers must have felt the first time the first time they feasted on 'A Small Good Thing' and 'Cathedral'. 'CommComm' in particular is slowly usurping 'The 400-Pound Ceo' as my favourite Saunders story.

For all Saunders's settings and situations, I never feel that he's a bleak author. He's too outrageous, too in love with humanity to leave that bitter, dystopian aftertaste. Saunders - a former geologist and practicing Buddhist - always gives humanity its due. Even God makes a decent cameo appearance. God is as he is elsewhere in Saunders's work - immanent, transcendent, quiet, and unassuming. In this respect, Saunders resembles the Scottish past-master, Alasdair Gray.

IPN isn't the author's best collection, but it contains his best pieces so far. I eagerly await the next installment in the Saunders saga.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
No country for sad men 14 Jun. 2011
By A. T. A. Oliveira - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
George Saunders' "In persuasion nation" is a collection of stories so funny that it is impossible to feel sad after reading it. At the same time, it is a complex satire of our time, of the future we are heading to. He is a perceptive writer that combines good prose with an acid view of our time. The title story is magic, surreal and, at the same time very down to earth. It is about a group rebellion against advertisement and consumerism. All the stories handle a modern subject that has changed - not necessarily for better - our lives. Saunders' imagination is limitless and because of it his stories are at the same time funny and a warning for the state of the world.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
We're already living in persuasion nation 14 July 2006
By Larry Dilg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book. Readers of Saunders's work will recognize his style as well as some stories from The New Yorker, Harper's and elsewhere, but that familiarity should just enhance the experience. Nothing is lost in the second or third reading of these pieces except perhaps surprise. And even that quality remains, since his minimalist extravagances keep yielding new meanings even as they strip language down to its most crass and inarticulate forms. The structure of the book is intriguing: the four sections organize the stories thematically, but I could only sense the organization. In this "persuasion nation" advertising and paranoia are fused into a twisted positivism that relies on heedless change, commercial success, and cynical manipulation of political/religious values. It looks like our world of Fox, Botox, and Vioxx, but all restraints have been removed. The corporations have got it all: disorder, chaos, and fear run rampant. And it's all very funny, thanks to the branding, slapstick, dry wit, science and math, love of cliché, and masterful elision. None of this prevents deep sadness from oozing to the surface, either. The characters are flat and blasted, but their predicament is still pathetic enough and their yearning for light, hope, and meaning real enough to elicit our sympathy. While murder and cruelty reign, a spark of humanity still shines through the darkness. The cover picture, which seems to illustrate the end of "jon," is about right: a damaged boy finding a precious flower on stony ground still has the power to move us. When I finished In Persuasion Nation, I didn't feel that I'd been given a key to reality, but I looked at our bloated, terrorized world with a bit more distance and a wry smile. We need all the irony we can get.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
strong collection that's a good place to start with Saunders 9 Jun. 2008
By evanjamesroskos - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Saunders' collections require readers to reorient their viewpoint. often times, you have to reorient your viewpoint at the start of every piece. yet, the worlds often seem to share the same authorities, powers, legal systems, and villains. And, like certain bands -- if you can get into the strange rhythms, suddenly everything will make sense from story to story and even collection to collection.

"I CAN SPEAK!" starts things off with a fantastic letter written in response to a parent complaining about a device that allows children to speak before they know how to speak. The title piece and "CommComm" are the other strong standouts.

Not everything works -- "93990" is nothing more than a gruesome lab report describing the death of numbered animals for the sake of science. While a climax involving a chimp that frees himself from bondage may have crossed a line of natural plot progression, offering nothing more than the current ending (I'll spare the spoiler) leaves the reader wondering why there is so much to read with so little to consider (other then "animal testing sure is awful.")

Similarly, "My Flamboyent Grandson" seems to be undercooked, relying more on the world then the characters to impart some greater statement about individuality. Indeed, Saunders often leaves the power to change in the hands of media/advertising, reducing his characters to reactionary personalities instead of actors. A positive outcome is not necessary for a story or even a collection to work, but the individual pieces could do more then hammer home the idea that certain forces are all-powerful and irresistible and that individuals don't triumph very often.

Saunders isn't always easy but he's often quite fun. If you enjoy a skewed perspective, give this collection a shot.
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