Liberation Day

Stories

English language

Published Nov. 2, 2022 by Random House Publishing Group.

ISBN:
978-0-525-50959-2
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3 stars (12 reviews)

7 editions

a curious exploration of our humanity

3 stars

Saunders is one of those authors whose style is a bit off-putting. I would love to crawl into his brain for a day. Always thought provoking, he looks at the world from a curious angle. I didn't love this collection but I would still recommend it if you are a serious reader who values introspective books that stretch you.

Very Saunders in the internalizations

4 stars

A strange, but compelling, collection of characters revolving around memory and bias. Not all of these felt like fully fleshed stories, but the people in them made me unable to care about narrative structure, or seeming lack thereof. There were moments that set my teeth on edge, esp the story with the mom and missing boy and how he wrote her, but I also appreciated what he was doing. It was almost this angular, awkward position held too long for even a semblance of comfort. Despite three of the stories being pretty much the same story, the last version made me a little tearful. His ability to write the funky, kinda smelly parts of people fascinates me, even when it's pushed to eleven.

Review of 'Liberation Day' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Perspective is hard when we’re immersed in chaos—that’s why we go to therapy. What Saunders has done here is kind of like showing us our Selves, from an outside perspective, except he makes it feel recognizably personal, like he’s writing from the inside. (I can’t find the right words. If I could, I’d be a writer myself.)

Each story is unique and powerful. Different settings and voices, with common themes of consciousness, self-awareness, moral agency. Saunders does an exquisite job of depicting inner monologue, monkey mind, life on autopilot; and a painfully accurate job showing the rationalizations we make every day to protect ourselves from discomfort. The book does not feel Buddhist in any way, but I think its insight and kindness make it a book that only a Buddhist could write. Each story requires effort from the reader; some more, some less. They’re worth it.

Review of 'Liberation Day' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This is almost a 5-star read for me, because this first ~2/3 of the book gets 5 stars:
- The title story, Liberation Day, is both extremely gripping and fantastic in terms of world building.
- The Mom of Bold Action is devastating and true.
- Love Letter is ominous and way too close to reality.
- A Thing at Work is sad and real and (to me) rage-inducing in the injustice it depicts.
- Sparrow is hopeful and light.

The last 4 stories in the book are still good and each have aspects to recommend them, but they did not grab me to the degree that the first did, nor stick with me as much.

I absolutely recommend this collection of short stories. It's the first book by George Saunders that I've read, and it's made me keen to read more!

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3 stars
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4 stars
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3 stars

Subjects

  • American literature

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