• Clare Clark


A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: George Saunders

Booker-winning novelist and short story writer George Saunders has been teaching creative writing at Syracuse University for the last 20 years. One of his classes explores the 19th-century Russian short story in translation. In this warm, funny, erudite book, Saunders takes us through seven exceptional stories – all included in full in the book – and shares his thoughts about how to read them. This is not dry academic analysis. Saunders is interested in how stories work, why writers make the choices they do, sentence by sentence. He examines how structure serves tension, how character feeds plot. I suspect it is impossible to teach anyone to be a writer but this book makes it eminently clear why Saunders such a good teacher. Stimulating and enriching, this book examines these small masterpieces as both writer and reader: 20 years on his ‘sense of wondering’ about them remains both gloriously fresh and irresistibly infectious. A delight.