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George Saunders...

...is guest blogging all this week at Powell's. First up: an imagined and (of course) very funny visit to Gitmo.

Like many Americans, I've been troubled by rumors of mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

So last week I paid Gitmo a visit.

Although it's difficult for the "average citizen" to gain access, I had an advantage: the great respect (bordering on awe) the American government has for us "literary types." As you may know, all a writer has to do to gain access to a restricted federal facility is show up at the front gate and declare his or her genre. You just declare "short story writer," or "literary essayist" or "lyric poet," and they let you right in. Of course, sometimes there's a bit of a hold-up when the sentry wants to ask some question about the use of mis-en-scene in Chekhov or something, but I usually enjoy this part, and do my best to reciprocate by getting the soldier to teach me something about his gun or a grenade or something, just so he doesn't feel outmanned.

Saunders is making an appearance here in Chicago next week, and even though I still haven't read any of his books (just this and this), I'm seriously considering attending. With Vonnegut gone, Saunders might just be the funniest and most insightful satirical writer we have.

September 4, 2007 in Books | Permalink

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