From “Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders

“Night was falling. Birds were singing. Birds were, it occurred to me to say, enacting a frantic celebration of day’s end. They were manifesting as the earth’s bright-colored nerve endings, the sun’s descent urging them into activity, filling them individually with life nectar, the life nectar then being passed into the world, out of each beak, in the form of that bird’s distinctive song, which was, in turn, an accident of beak shape, throat shape, breast configuration, brain chemistry: some birds blessed in voice, others cursed; some squawking, others rapturous.”

I have just finished Saunders’ most recent collection of short-stories, Tenth of December,   and much enjoyed it. Saunders exposes what is most inauthentic in our late-capitalist lives with both a brutal and unforgiving sense of wit and a heartfelt compassion for his characters’ humanity, a combination that only sounds odd.

The above was my favorite single explosion of beauty in the book and is not exactly representative.

ALV June 29 2013

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