Liberation Day


Interesting way to start the year!

George Saunders is an author with a specific writing style that I find readers tend to love or hate. For the most part, I fall into the love camp. I’ve read a few of his works before, mostly his articles and shorter pieces, and they’re all written in the same style. Eccentric and absurdist are two often used words to describe Saunder’s work, and I can’t say this title is any different than the others.

Liberation Day is a new collection of short stories from Saunders, mostly centering around morality, inequality, and ethical decisions. It feels incredibly dystopian, which makes a few of the stories difficult to get through, as that is not a plot point I ever care to read about. We already live in a shitty world; I try not to read about a fictional one just as shit, but alas.

Liberation Day, the titular story, opens the book and takes up about 25% of it. If you begin reading and hate that story by the end, it will probably be best to DNF the entire thing as it gets weirder. These stories are often written from the perspective of a character that has undergone some life change, and thus we, the reader, are not made aware of what their world is like until consequences set in for the characters. It took me several pages into the first story to figure out what was happening, which would turn off most readers. By the end, I was entirely hooked and confused, but in a good way. If you enjoy fiction that combines a berth of genres and tropes, this is likely the collection for you. There are science fiction, dystopian, fantasy, and post-modernist elements throughout the stories, and most blend several genres and themes entirely. It’s a great read as a short story collection as some of these stories felt a bit heavy for me and made it hard to continue, but with it being a short story collection, it was much easier to put the book down and wander back to it when my brain felt more prepared. A fascinating book to start the year!

Title: Liberation Day: Stories
Author: George Saunders
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9780525509608

Three Descriptors: Thought-Provoking, Compelling, Odd

Read Alikes:
Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell
Notes from the Fog by Ben Marcus
Voices in the Night by Steven Millhauser
Collected Stories by Lorrie Moore
Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh

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