Saunders: “The Overcoat,” by Gogol.
Ward: Favorite Saunders story ever? (Mine is “Tenth of December,” with apologies to “Pastoralia.”)
Saunders: Part of the process of moving on and doing more work is to regard all past stories as these small clay rabbits you have made and brought to life, which you loved very much during that process, but which then go running off across the barnyard into the mist, with your blessing. So no favorites. I just feel slightly fond of them all.
Ward: The role of fiction.
Saunders: Transfer energy from writer to reader.
Ward: The role of short fiction.
Saunders: Do that quicker.
Saunders: Realism is to fiction what gravity is to walking: a confinement that allows dancing under the right circumstances.
Ward: Your reputation as a satirist.
Saunders: Slight thorn in my side.
Ward: The word "genius."
Saunders: Always good for a laugh around our house, like when I accidentally drop my phone in the shitter.
Tenth of December by George Saunders. Random House.
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.
Why all cracker names sound alike.
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
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A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.