The title of George Saunders
' not-that-recent most-recent collection of essays, The Braindead Megaphone
, refers to a party-crasher in a metaphor for our national discourse. Everyone at this metaphorical party is having reasonable conversations, sharing experiences and weighing contrary opinions, when someone shows up and starts shouting generic statements into a megaphone. The statements are designed to do little but hold the attention of the crowd. They succeed, and soon all the interesting conversation has been supplanted. Saunders published Megaphone
, his first non-fiction work, in 2007 -- a year after he won a MacArthur Genius Grant -- and his keen observations on media, politics and personal struggles seem more prescient by the day. His fiction, often featuring heroes clinging to decency in dystopian near-futures, benefits from the same foresight. Now a professor at Syracuse University, Saunders will be visiting Washington University's Whitaker Hall Auditorium (Forsyth and Skinker Boulevards; 314-935-5190 or www.english.artsci.wustl.edu
) at 6 p.m. to read from his work. A free reception and book signing will follow.
Thu., March 29, 2012