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US release cover
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Pastoralia is short story writer George Saunders’s second full length short story collection, published in 2000. The collection received highly positive reviews from book critics and was ranked the fifth-greatest book of the 2000s by literary magazine The Millions. The book consists of stories that appeared (sometimes in different forms) in The New Yorker; most of the stories were O. Henry Award Prize Stories. The collection was a New York Times Notable Book for 2001.
Pastoralia received general acclaim from book critics. Chris Lehmann of Salon praised its relevance, calling Saunders a "master of distilling the disorders of our time into fiction." Lynne Tillman of The New York Times argued the stories "cover larger, more exciting territory" than Saunders' previous works, "with an abundance of ideas, meanings and psychological nuance." Pastoralia is also well-known for its writing style, which has been described as deadpan, realist, and/or postmodern. Iranian-American novelist and essayist Porochista Khakpour cited the "seamless coexistence of high and low" in the book's prose. A writer for Nylon argued the book's deadpan delivery and "satiric vision of contemporary America [secures Saunders'] place" as a successor to 20th century literary realists such as Thomas Pynchon and Kurt Vonnegut.
In 2007, Entertainment Weekly ranked the book #63 on its list of the top 100 works of literature since 1983. The following year, Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club ranked it one of the ten best short story collections of the 2000s.
- "Pastoralia" (Originally published in shorter form in The New Yorker, April 3, 2000)
- "Winky" (The New Yorker, July 28, 1997)
- "Sea Oak" (The New Yorker, December 28, 1998)
- "The End of FIRPO in the World" (The New Yorker, May 18, 1998)
- "The Barber's Unhappiness" (The New Yorker, December 20, 1999)
- "The Falls" (The New Yorker, January 22, 1996)
Awards, honors and other appearances
- "Pastoralia" was an O. Henry Award Prize Story in 2001.
- "Winky" Was an O. Henry Award Prize Story in 1998.
- "Sea Oak" was an O. Henry Award Prize Story in 1999. It was nominated for the 1999 Bram Stoker Award. It was also reprinted in Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel; it was also reprinted in American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now, edited by Peter Straub.
- "The Falls" was an O. Henry Award Prize Story in 1997.
- Best of the Millennium, Pros vs. Readers
- Tillman, Lynne. "Future Shock: a story collection discovers the future in the present". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- Khakpour, Porochista. "Best of the Millennium #5: Pastoralia by George Saunders". The Millions. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- "The New Classics: Books". Entertainment Weekly. 18 June 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (25 November 2009). "The 10 best short-story collections of the '00s". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
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