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This leads Saunders to speculate that fun might be the basis for universal brotherhood. But such divisions are not addressed. This view is akin to a hydrologist suggesting that our failure in Iraq is largely a matter of irrigation, or a doctor attributing it to a problem of diagnosis. The sentiments are noble, the analysis solipsistic. Saunders, the imaginative artist, has failed to imagine other reasons for the catastrophe in Iraq besides the failure to imagine. The problem with this is that at the very appearance of the Apparent Doofus, readers know what is on the way — not an education, but a Life-Enhancing Epiphany.

As a fiction writer, Saunders was born to forgive. In Texas, he goes on patrol with the Minutemen, vigilantes intent on stopping illegal immigration. View all New York Times newsletters. Saunders delivers canny insights only afforded a writer who himself has been lost in the Impenetrable Jungles of Narrative and has hacked his way out week by despairing week. Saunders describes how Barthelme constructs the story as a series of deaths ranging from pets to classmates. Such a faithfully followed, even inventive pattern is not enough, however. Tell us what you think. Please upgrade your browser.

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The Braindead Megaphone (Paperback)

Please re-enter. It's strange, because I appreciated a lot of his more random humor in the longer articles, but when satire was the sole purpose of a piece it didn't seem funny at all, and in some cases irritated me to the point of skipping over them. On the other hand, I did also enjoy his writing craft essays and literary criticism. I think I just have very narrow taste in satire. It may have something to do with mortgages, children who need shoes, and putting food on the table.

The Braindead Megaphone

I take it that they get paid, though probably not handsomely, on delivery of whatever topical non-fiction piece they have been commissioned to write. With fiction you tend to write it and then have to send it out somewhere hoping beyond hope that someone will like it enough to offer to publish it and maybe even pay you a pittance for it somewhere down the line. And so, eventually, a fine writer of fiction, be it of short stories or novels, will accrue a substantial body of non-fiction pieces that he or she will, often, collect together into a book that has nothing that makes it cohere other than the fact that each piece has been written by this same fine author who typically writes fiction.

The Brain-Dead Megaphone is such a collection. Fortunately, the author in question is George Saunders, so most, though perhaps not all, of the topical pieces in this collection are a funny, b satirical, c outlandish, or d something even more than outlandish but still funny. The only essay here that defies the norm and fails, rather, as a result, is the title essay, which is po-faced and not funny in the least.

Skip that one, if you can.

Publication: The Braindead Megaphone

Apparently GQ paid good money to send George on these trips and then also paid for the articles he wrote thereafter. It is a very strange world, indeed. There are also other pieces here on fiction, teaching creative writing, on the great American novel, and more. But more often than not Saunders cannot resist his incessant need for satire, even when at his own expense. Which is something, and may even be enough. So long as it pays the bills and allows him to get back to what he does best, i.

Gently recommended. The Braindead Megaphone. Home Groups Talk Zeitgeist. I Agree This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and if not signed in for advertising. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms. The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders.

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Members Reviews Popularity Average rating Mentions 14 24, 3. At the core of this unique collection are Saunders's travel essays based on his trips to seek out the mysteries of the "Buddha Boy" of Nepal; to attempt to indulge in the extravagant pleasures of Dubai; and to join the exploits of the minutemen at the Mexican border. Saunders expertly navigates the works of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, and Esther Forbes, and leads the reader across the rocky political landscape of modern America. Emblazoned with his trademark wit and singular vision, Saunders's endeavor into the art of the essay is testament to his exceptional range and ability as a writer and thinker.

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George Saunders -- Woof: A Plea of Sorts

Hit-and-miss, overall. Adammmmm Sep 10, A real mixed bag of essays, not just in quality but in tone. A book of non-fiction essays must be special if read a decade later they still delight.

THE BRAINDEAD MEGAPHONE by George Saunders | Kirkus Reviews

I found this to be hit or miss. Aug 7, RandyMetcalfe Sep 1, You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data. Information from the Italian Common Knowledge.

Edit to localize it to your language. Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. To my parents, on the occasion of their fitieth wedding anniversary, with gratitude for their beautiful example. I find myself thinking of a guy standing in a field in the year doing whatever it is people in did while standing in fields. This is us.

George Saunders: The Braindead Megaphone

This is who we are. To those who would oppose us, I would simply say: We are many.

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