an uproarious and outlandish place that it is so hilarious precisely because it is so close to home -- a nation that at once feels deeply foreign and as familiar as the nation we call our own.

Table of Contents


“So imaginative, so wickedly diverting that the undertow takes you before you even feel a chill...Saunders has been likened to other great American social satirists—Nathanael West, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon—and it’s a valid comparison in terms of effect. But he is definitely a voice of his own time, keeping up with the heaving cultural tide.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Laugh out-loud, uncontrollably urinating-on-yourself hilarious.”
Time Out New York

“Saunders is a hilarious, wicked, and pitch-perfect satirist of our times, of course, but for a satirist he has a whole lot of heart.”

“Stunningly effective …The title story of In Persuasion Nation—about a doomed rebellion against the brutal and degrading skits used to advertise consumer products—is [Saunders’] wildest yet. Set is the psychic space of a series of television commercials (all of them absurd, some of them grotesquely violent), the story is at once insanely inventive and calmly convincing…. [But] the fantastically talented George Saunders…can also do old-fashioned realism. In ‘Bohemians,’ about a clutch of misfit kids from ‘unraveling households’ in a working-class neighborhood, Saunders demonstrates a delicate human touch….There’s movement beneath the surface of these simple sentences, a ripple of emotion that makes the laughter, the budding friendliness, ring true.”
The New York Times Book Review

“So funny, so surreal and so disturbing…Few today can match Saunders' depth of inventiveness…This book should persuade the nation that we are in the presence of a talent that can, without exaggeration, be called unique.”
Hartford Courant

"If you are a new reader of George Saunders, the first thing you ought to know is that Saunders is the funniest writer in America...The competition--David Sedaris, Tom Wolfe, Christopher Buckley--isn't even close.It is easy, therefore, to pigeonhole Saunders, to think of him largely as a wit and an absurdist extraordinaire. This would be to miss his point. Saunders's laughs are a cover, a diversion, beneath which reside some profoundly serious intentions regarding the morality of how we live and the power of love and immanent death to transform us into vastly better creatures than we could otherwise hope to be. These are the biggest intentions an artist can have...Nowadays, in a time of the most limited sense of possibility and ambition in American literature, where even the discussion of the requirements of art, as opposed to success, feels obsolete and embarrassing, I can't think of another writer who would try to do what Saunders is doing, or anything close to it. This is an important book."
—The Nation

“A blast of savage Swiftian satire, a vision of an America well past its expiration date…It’s Babbitt, updated and unhinged…[it’s] like Kafka trapped in a Jerry Springer universe.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer

“George Saunders is a goddamned genius….If you haven’t yet been exposed to Saunders’ singular point of view and knockout storytelling ability, In Persuasion Nation is a fantastic place to start.”

“Back when Philip K. Dick asked ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ who could have imagined that George Saunders would answer? Or that his reply might be, we are the electric sheep…Saunders’ caustic wit, imaginative flair and the Ping-Pong speed of his dialogue are on full display here.”
Los Angeles Times

“Pynchon-meets-Wonder Showzen.”
Entertainment Weekly

“The 12 brilliant entries of In Persuasion Nation explore, through hyperbole, the most heinous aspects of contemporary America, as it merrily eats and pollutes itself to death…[Saunders] has a singular skill at manipulating language. It’s almost as though he learned English from watching television and reading poetry, and then fermented his findings into a weird new language all his own. His sentences, bursting with barely perceptible tweaks to standard usage, are multilayered and profound, yet instantly digestible. ‘Think these things up in your heart,’ one of his characters says. ‘Treasure them around, see what it is.’ Treasuring Saunders around, you find yourself laughing, a bit moved and ultimately won over.”
Time Out Chicago

“George Saunders, the brilliant satirist who writes like a marketing expert gone mad, sends us bulletins from the alternate universe that he alone inhabits, yet just may be our future home…Few today can match Saunders’ depth of inventiveness…This book should persuade the nation that we are in the presence of a talent that can, without exaggeration, be called unique.”
—The Hartford Courant

“In Saunders’ latest collection - In Persuasion Nation - teenagers interned in a terminal focus group, the deranged star of a Truman Show screenplay, scientists, and product specialists speak, with disarming fluency, the language of the commercial voiceover artists in residence inside all our brains…Some of the slickest, most relentlessly satirical stories yet produced on this planet.”
The Village Voice

“Alternately the funniest and most heartbreaking book ever written involving castrated dogs, talking candy bars and the eternal recurrence of parental death.”
New York Press

In Persuasion Nation offers oddball looks at the creeping—and creepy—influence of marketing and business into daily life, whether by invasive advertisements of giant bags of snacks. But the man can also write, short, sharp jabs—like the story ‘Adams,’ about feuding neighbors—that haunt you long after you’ve set the book down. And did we mention he’s really funny?”

“In In Persuasion Nation, the scarily smart George Saunders focuses his piercing satirical vision on our proud country.”
Vanity Fair

“Everyone who reads him knows that George Saunders is one of the funniest writers at work today. What’s less remarked on is his capacity to wrench pathos from comedy. While other writers seek out beauty, Saunders restricts himself to America’s chintzy landscape, our vocabulary of bureaucratese and self-empowerment….[But] where David Foster Wallace paints a world utterly dehumanized by these conditions, Saunders finds great humanity.”
The Boston Phoenix