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Pastoralia (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Juni 2001

4.2 von 5 Sternen 13 Kundenrezensionen

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Taschenbuch, 1. Juni 2001
EUR 13,68
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  • Pastoralia
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  • Civilwarland in Bad Decline. Stories and a Novella.
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Produktbeschreibungen

Amazon.de

In both his acclaimed debut, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, and his second collection, Pastoralia, George Saunders imagines a near future where capitalism has run amok. Consumption and the service economy rule the earth. The Haves are grotesque beings, mutilated by their crass desires and impossible wealth. The Have Nots are no less crippled, both emotionally and physically, by their inferior status. It's a kind of Westworld scenario, but instead of robots, the serving wenches, bellboys, and extras are real people, all of them mercilessly indentured by the free market.

Sounds like bleak stuff, doesn't it? Yet Saunders handles his characters with grace and humour In the title story, for example, a couple occupies a squalid corner of a human zoo, where they act out a parody of caveman times, communicating in grunts and hand motions speaking is instantly punishable by the Orwellian management) and conducting their lives during 15-minute smoke breaks. In "Winky", a born loser (really, all of Saunders's characters are born losers) visits a self-help seminar, where he's encouraged to rid himself of all those people who are "crapping in your oatmeal". Exhilarated at the prospect of dumping his simple, crazy-haired, religion-besotted sister, he returns home to the bleak discovery that he needs her as much as she needs him. The protagonist of "Sea Oak" works as a stripper in an aviation-themed restaurant and lives next to a crack house with his unemployed sisters, their babies, and a sweet old maid of an aunt. The aunt dies, and then returns from the grave--not so sweet, now, and still decomposing--with strange powers and a sobering message:

"You ever been in the grave? It sucks so bad! You regret all the things you never did. You little bitches are going to have a very bad time in the grave unless you get on the stick, believe me!"

The characters and situations in the rest of Pastoralia are equally wretched. But Saunders rescues them from utter despair with a loving belief in the triumph of the human spirit: yes, things can always get worse, but worse is better than the cold dirt of the grave. And in the small space between wretchedness and death there is plenty of room for laughter, and even love. --Tod Nelson -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Pressestimmen

“Intoxicating.” —Time Out

“Exuberantly weird . . . brutally funny” —The New York Times

“Compulsively swallowed, sweetly addictive” —San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Demands to be reread immediately” —The Wall Street Journal

“Hilarious and heartrending” —The Village Voice

“Breathtaking . . . a masterpiece” —San Diego Union Tribune

“Riveting” —U.S. News and World Report

“Screamingly funny” —Time

“Saunders is a provocateur, a moralist, a zealot, a lefty, and a funny, funny writer, and the stories in Pastoralia delight. We’re very lucky to have them.” —Esquire

“Breathtaking, brutally hilarious satire, a savage skewering not only of the American workplace, but of the American character itself. . . . Pastoralia is a masterpiece of unsettling comedy.” —San Diego Union Tribune

“Artful and sophisticated. . . .truly unusual. Imagine Lewis’s Babbitt thrown into the back seat of a car going cross-country, driven by R. Crumb, Matt Groening, Lynda Barry, Harvey Pekar or Spike Jonze. That’d be a story Saunders could tell.”—The New York Times

“The short-story collection of the year . . . Pastoralia does everything a gathering of tales is supposed to do: It touches the reader but also provokes reflection, mirth, and pain.” —Kansas City Star

“Dazzling . . . Saunders’s misfits confront their degradations with heroic optimism; rarely have the comic nuances of suffering been tracked with such precision. These stories, injected with Saunders’s highly original blend of irony and tenderness, ride you down spirals of the absurd and fling you back to your own life, startled.” —Men’s Journal

“A master of distilling the disorders of our time into fiction.” —Salon

“Fiercely funny . . . [Saunders is] a master of the self-flagellating interior monologue.” —The Boston Globe

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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I finished this book last night and have to say this is one the best books I've read this year. The stories are all about lower-middle-class people with real problems, so real in fact that much of the book is very, very sad, but also very beautiful. Because ultimately what the author is trying to say about these people and these situations is Hey, wake up, look around you, see what's happening, and realize that the world around us has to change. The stories are funny, and true, and many of them are not only excellent stories beautifully written, but are obviously metaphorical and applicable to our real lives, no matter how absurd they may seem on the surface.
I would highly recommend this book. If it gives you any indication, Saunders is on equal footing with other current gifted writers such as David Foster Wallace, Thom Jones, and T.C. Boyle.
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There are some very imaginative and witty scenarios played out in the six stories contained within. However, I didn't find them particularly as humorous as I did bleek and disturbing. For instance, there's the man and woman in the title story that play cavepeople to an audience of no one but have to keep up the facade in order to keep a job. Then there's the man who visits a motivational speaker and as he finally musters up the courage to make a drastic change in his life, his dreams come crashing down as he's faced with his reality. The book probably isn't intended to be this dark, but that's the underlying feeling I got from it. I still give Saunders 4 stars for his quirky and off-the-wall writing style. Interpretation is everything with this book.
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Reading this book is like watching a trashy TV talk show on really good acid. Saunders is the best antidote to the boring writers of today, those writers who think that a carefully-rendered quiet story is enough.
Besides, at one point, we're all going to be asked to show our cocks.
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Apparently anyone looking on down to trash culture and throwing in enough vulgarity can get a great review these days. There are some genuinely funny moments, but overall these stories are as empty and unsatisfying as a can of E-Z Cheez.
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George Saunders is weird and then some. The America in his short stories is light years away from the picture postcard vision of sun-drenched cornfields swaying in the wind.
In the short story that gives the book its title, Pastoralia is the sort of theme park that would give Disney executives a heart attack. Visitors see people as they lived in past epochs, such as the couple who play Neanderthal cave dwellers, daubing prehistoric paintings on walls, making unintelligible grunting noises and roasting goats. But, there are few visitors to the park and the "cavewoman" Janet is cracking up under the pressure of mounting debts and a drug-addicted son.
She downs a bottle of Jack Daniels bourbon and starts using the sort of expletives no Neanderthal man would know.
In the best and funniest story, Sea Oak, a down-at-heel, bickering family tries to make ends meet in a housing estate that gives new meaning to the term concrete jungle. They spend most of their time mindlessly watching television. The stations have run out of Worst Accidents or When Animals Attack videos and have to resort to The Worst That Could Happen, a half-hour of computer simulations of tragedies that have never happened but theoretically could. A child hit by a train is catapulted into a zoo, where he's eaten by wolves. A man cuts off his hand chopping wood and while staggering screaming for help is picked up by a tornado and dropped on a preschool during recess and lands on a pregnant teacher.
Sea Oak is a modern parable. The family's dead granny comes back from the grave to tell them to get their act together but, unlike the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, she just won't go away, but sits putrefying in her favourite armchair.
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Contrary to misguided popular belief, some books you can tell by their covers. One glance at the jacket of George Saunders's new story collection, "Pastoralia" -- a plastic deer chained to a light post, with a thought-bubble containing a caveman -- and you know this is a seriously peculiar book and maybe an arrestingly original writer.
He might be bizarre, but Saunders's first book, "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline," was a finalist for the 1996 PEN/Hemingway Award and a New York Times Notable Book. He's won three O. Henry Awards, two National Magazine Awards, and The New Yorker lists the Syracuse creative-writing professor among the 20 best American fiction writers under 40 -- all potentially a blessing or a curse to a writer who has a bright future spitting on media-driven appetites.
But, just like in "Pastoralia," anti-heroes abound, even thrive, in the underbelly of modern America. Saunders is an odd one, but refreshing, nervy and outrageous. He could be a star.
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I found this collection almost physically disabling it was so good. I finshed "Sea Oak" and walked around bumping into doorways and shaking my head and laughing and muttering out loud. I don't think stories get any better than "Sea Oak." That story will stand the test of time and should be anthologized widely, although it will take a brave editor to include it. Saunders insists on making his characters think and question. This collection is ruled, always, by a heartfelt cry for decency in a world that seems to have misplaced that trait somewhere. The stories shape themselves around decency. You finish them and you are a better person, and that is as good a definition of high art as any I know. Not only that, Saunders is the most original writer to come along since Cormac McCarthy; it's a voice that can be instantly marked and identified. These stories are filled with a horrific beauty.
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