A Swim in a Pond in the Rain

In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life

Hardcover, 448 pages

Published Jan. 11, 2021 by Random House.

ISBN:
9781984856029

View on OpenLibrary

5 stars (5 reviews)

For the last twenty years, George Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it’s more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.

In his introduction, Saunders writes, “We’re going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn’t fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art—namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What …

3 editions

Saunders always seems like a thoroughly nice person

4 stars

Lovely for craft appreciation, I probably would bounce off most of the Russian short stories without the commentary, which sets a path for writing of selecting and questioning and following every choice and voice towards some truth, true to your character or your whim? Complications and deeper connections to how to live creep in, but this is mostly about finding the good in writing.

avatar for malcolmbarrett

rated it

5 stars
avatar for ianbishop

rated it

4 stars
avatar for cwhitfield

rated it

5 stars