A Swim in a Pond in the Rain

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

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On Sale 2021-01-12

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From the New York Times bestselling, Booker Prize-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December, a literary masterclass on what makes great stories work, how to write them yourself, and what they can tell us about our world today.

In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, George Saunders guides the reader through seven classic Russian short stories he's been teaching for twenty years as a professor in the prestigious Syracuse University graduate MFA creative writing program. Paired with stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, these essays are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it's more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.

Saunders approaches each of these stories technically yet accessibly, and through them explains how narrative functions; why we stay immersed in a story and why we resist it; and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster. For the process of writing, Saunders reminds us, is as much a craft as it is a quality of openness and a willingness to see the world through new eyes.

Funny, frank, and rigorous, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain ultimately shows how great fiction can change a person's life and become a benchmark of one's moral and ethical beliefs.

- About the author -

George Saunders is the author of nine books, including the novel Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the Man Booker Prize, and the story collections Pastoralia and Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2006 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2013 he was awarded the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and was included in Time’s list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. He teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University.

More from George Saunders

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain

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

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain

— Published by Random House —