I first hear of George Saunders thanks to the New Yorker fiction podcast. One short story read by Joshua Ferris and I was hooked. I picked up this collection of short stories to get me started, and I was not disappointed.
Pastoralia contains six short stories, all interesting reads. Three stood out to me, Pastoralia, Sea Oak and The end of FIRPO in the world. The other three were interesting reads, but haven’t stuck with me in the same way as these three.
As a warning I will say that since having a child of my own, I read and watch things about kids with a recognizably different mind. That said, The end of FIRPO in the world was the story that stuck with me most from this collection. It was not even 10 pages and I reread it immediately. I thought the voice of this kid was so fascinating, I didn’t want to miss any of the details. FIRPO is an an acronym for something never revealed, but the idea of it is conveyed in such a way that I couldn’t get this kid out of my head.
Pastoralia and Sea Oak I found slightly lighter reads than FIRPO, but I really enjoyed Saunders voice. Having spent a bit of time working with some very passionate ‘experimental’ archaeologists, I think I read Pastoralia somewhat differently than most. It is the tale of some individuals living in a ‘human’ zoo of sorts, modeling life from different times.
I highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading more by Saunders. I forgot how much I enjoy a good short story.