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One of the most influential works of modern American fiction is available for the first time as an eBook, featuring exclusive content not found in the print editions, including an additional short story and original commentary from George Saunders and Joshua Ferris. Since its publication in 1996, George Saunders's debut collection has grown in estimation from a cherished cult classic to a masterpiece of the form and inspired an entire generation of writers. In six stories ("CivilWarLand in Bad Decline," "Isabelle," "The Wavemaker Falters," "The 400-Pound CEO," "Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz," "Downtrodden Mary's Failed Campaign of Terror") and a novella ("Bounty"), Saunders introduces readers to an unforgettable cast of characters struggling to survive in an increasingly haywire world. This eBook edition is the perfect occasion to discover or revisit a virtuosic, uniquely American voice. Now available are a bonus short story, "A Lack of Order in the Floating Object Room," originally published in 1986 but no longer in print; a new Afterword by George Saunders discussing his life and career at the time he wrote these stories; a new Introduction by National Book Award finalist and PEN/Hemingway Award winner Joshua Ferris; and an excerpt from Saunders's upcoming collection, Tenth of December. Praise for George Saunders and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline "There is no author I recommend to people more often--for ten years I've urged George Saunders onto everyone and everyone. You want funny? Saunders is your man. You want emotional heft? Saunders again. You want stories that are actually about something--stories that again and again get to the meat of matters of life and death and justice and country? Saunders. There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity."--Dave Eggers "The debut of an exciting new voice in fiction . . . Saunders's satiric vision of America is dark and demented; it's also ferocious and very funny."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "Not since Twain has America produced a satirist this funny."--Zadie Smith "George Saunders makes the all-but-impossible look effortless. We're lucky to have him."--Jonathan Franzen "An astoundingly tuned voice--graceful, dark, authentic, and funny--telling just the kinds of stories we need to get us through these times."--Thomas Pynchon "In CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, George Saunders is improvising around a single scary note. Few writers have sounded it with such clarity, boldness, and wit."--The Philadelphia Inquirer "Subversive, hilarious, and emotionally piercing. Few writers can encompass that range of adjectives, but Saunders is a true original--restlessly inventive, yet deeply humane."--Jennifer Egan "This book is a rare event: a brilliant new satirist bursting out of the gate in full stride, wildly funny, pure, generous--all that a great humorist should be."--Garrison Keillor "[Saunders has] shades of both Denis Johnson and Raymond Chandler. . . . By turns he's ferocious, witty, and uproarious, but what makes his fiction memorable is the gravitas of its dark portraiture of America."--The Boston Globe
Every office is a family of sorts, and the ad agency Joshua Ferris brilliantly depicts in his debut novel is family at its strangest and best, coping with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. Among the coworkers fighting for their jobs and their precious perks: Tom Mota, recently divorced and inexplicably wearing three company polo shirts, one on top of the other, every day; Joe Pope, a workaholic and perpetual victim of office sabotage; Carl Garbedian, whose unchecked depression has led him to "borrow" Janine Gorjanc's medication and black out his windows; Chris Yop, suspected of stealing tom Mota's chair; and Marcia Dwyer, with whom Benny Shassburger is in love, despite her mean streak and badly dated haircut. As one colleague after another is laid off, everyone strikes their best business-as-usual pose, pretending to make headway on the mysterious pro bono ad campaign that is their only remaining "work." Meanwhile tempers flare, office furniture disappears, and the survivors parse their bosses' decisions in ever-more paranoid sessions at the nearest bar.
He was going to lose the house and everything in it. The rare pleasure of a bath, the copper pots hanging above the kitchen island, his family - again he would lose his family. He stood inside the house and took stock. Everything in it had been taken for granted. How had that happened again? He had promised himself not to take anything for granted and now he couldn't recall the moment that promise had given way to the everyday. Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol. His wife Jane still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Despite long hours at the office, he remains passionate about his work, and his partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm means that the work he does is important. And, even as his daughter Becka retreats behind her guitar, her dreadlocks and her puppy fat, he offers her every one of a father's honest lies about her being the most beautiful girl in the world. He loves his wife, his family, his work, his home. He loves his kitchen. And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking. The Unnamed is a dazzling novel about a marriage and a family and the unseen forces of nature and desire that seem to threaten them both. It is the heartbreaking story of a life taken for granted and what happens when that life is abruptly and irrevocably taken away.
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