“The aim of this book is mainly diagnostic: If a story drew us in, kept us reading, made us feel respected, how did it do that?”
George Saunders teaches a class on the Russian short story to MFA students at Syracuse University. He has been doing this for the past twenty years. This book is like a written version of an English class with him.
He gives the reader seven short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Gogol, and others, then dissects them as he would with his class of students.
Saunders explores how good writing works for the reader and why people continue to read a story and how a genuine connection between writer and reader is formed.