“The universe actually isn’t designed to protect you at all. It really isn’t. We’re getting an international reminder of that in spades. But my working class impulse is to go, ‘Alright. I’m going to try to accept it as fast as I can, so I don’t end up paralyzed by it. And I’m going to dedicate all this incoming sorrow to truth.’” – George Saunders, episode 207 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso
As we begin the new year, we turn to writer George Saunders. He first joined us upon the release of his latest book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain. He’s recently launched a new newsletter called “Story Club”, available on Substack.
This week we’re revisiting our talk with Saunders, discussing the power of Chekhov and Tobias Wolff (8:52), regarding literature as a “fondness for life” (12:30), his summer with Steinbeck (15:00), deconstructing the (male) mythology of Hemingway (26:45), and how starting a young family changed his course (35:00).
On the back-half, we talk about craft and process (39:00), his conversations with the late David Foster Wallace (42:15), and his aim to entertain any kind of reader (44:39). To close: George reads an excerpt from his New Yorker short story, “Love Letter” (49:02).
- Subscribe to his new Substack, “Story Club”.
- Order George’s new book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain.
- Learn more about George Saunders’ work on his personal website.
- Read his short story, “Love Letter,” published by The New Yorker.
- Hear our past conversations with writers: Elizabeth Gilbert, Michael Lewis, Claudia Rankine, Nick Offerman, Richard Powers, Roxane Gay, Malcolm Gladwell, Fran Lebowitz, and Jhumpa Lahiri.
Illustrations by: Krishna Shenoi.