A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: A masterclass in how to write by George Saunders

Book review: One of the great living writers explains what makes classic short stories work so well

 George Saunders’ new book  A Swim in a Pond is truly worth its weight in gold. Photograph: Johnny Louis/FilmMagic

George Saunders’ new book A Swim in a Pond is truly worth its weight in gold. Photograph: Johnny Louis/FilmMagic

The career of the modern writer: write a great work (or, in some cases, just write a work); wait for some random university to hire you under some honorary title; sit in a shared office that has the same atmosphere as a European hostel; be occasionally wheeled out to impart your great knowledge upon the next generation of would-be adjunct professors; be grateful you survived another year.

It is a bleak but time-honoured tradition. And I suppose there is a certain thrill for the student walking into a cosy classroom and there, behind the lectern, is Maya Angelou or Vladimir Nabokov or Zadie Smith.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.