This week, in lieu of a BEST OF 2011 series, we’re running five stories focused on Stuff We Liked in 2011.
If we cheat a little bit and include December 2010 as part of 2011 — and who would really call us on it anyway, as we all know the Committee to Insure (sic) Accuracy in Literary Blog Postings (CI(sic)ALBP) only investigates blogs with much higher circulations than DBC — then George Saunders published three (!) notable short stories in The New Yorker this year. That’s quite the figure.
And these were wildly diverse stories, content-wise, that dovetailed in the way that individual writers’ works tend to dovetail, which is to say: they dealt with the same themes, those being death and suffering. In “Escape from Spiderhead,” there’s a bleak prison where the inmates are subjected to stimulants that alter an individual’s mood, language patterns, or general capacity. In “Home,” there’s a returning veteran trying to exist in a post-combat world. And in “Tenth of December,” (which we wrote about on DBC) there are two protagonists whose fates switch back and forth, one trying to leave the world and one trying to create his own. Continue reading