Ask a Bookseller: A master class on writing, reading — and life

"A Swim in a Pond in the Rain" by George Saunders.
"A Swim in a Pond in the Rain" by George Saunders.
Courtesy of Penguin Random House

Cat Bock of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn., recommended a brand-new work of literary criticism by George Saunders with a tempting subtitle indeed: “A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life."

Saunders is a national bestselling novelist whose many-voiced novel “Lincoln in the Bardo” won the 2017 Mann Booker Prize. He also teaches in the Masters of Fine Arts program at Syracuse University, and this collection is a view into his Russian short story class. The book combines short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy and Gogol with seven essays by Saunders that explore how and why these stories work. 

Bock says, “I think it’s the perfect book for anyone who, like me, has kind of a reduced attention span right now, or who is looking to become a better writer or a better reader. It’s just an all-around fabulous book.”

It comes out on Jan. 12 from Penguin Random House.   

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