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Writers :: George Saunders

Interview with George Saunders. Boldtype 31. BT: You pick up on a sort of campy but unsettling beauty in the way we all agree to talk in conversation, in meetings, on TV. How do you go about making that literary?

GS: I never had a sense of what literary language should be like, and when I tried to do it, it always came out like Thomas Wolfe on quaaludes — where you describe the same thing three times. …Even when I overhear somebody on their cell phone up here on campus. If you forget the phone, and just think of it as a poem, it’s unbelievable: “Mom, I told this fucking guy I was too hungover! What are you talking about, Mom? I was too wasted, I couldn’t call you.” The idea is that you have to listen, and then you purify it a little bit.

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