Pastoralia (short story collection)

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US release cover
AuthorGeorge Saunders
CountryUnited States
PublisherRiverhead Books
Publication date
June 2000
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages208 p.

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.[1] 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."[2] Pastoralia is also well-known for its writing style, which has been described as deadpan, realist, and/or postmodern.[3][4] Iranian-American novelist and essayist Porochista Khakpour cited the "seamless coexistence of high and low" in the book's prose.[5] 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.[6]

In 2007, Entertainment Weekly ranked the book #63 on its list of the top 100 works of literature since 1983.[7] The following year, Emily VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club ranked it one of the ten best short story collections of the 2000s.[8]


Story Originally published in Date
"Pastoralia" 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[edit]



  1. ^ Best of the Millennium, Pros vs. Readers
  2. ^ Tillman, Lynne. "Future Shock: a story collection discovers the future in the present". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Khakpour, Porochista. "Best of the Millennium #5: Pastoralia by George Saunders". The Millions. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ "The New Classics: Books". Entertainment Weekly. 18 June 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  8. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (25 November 2009). "The 10 best short-story collections of the '00s". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  9. ^