George Saunders Quotes

- Notable George Saunders Quotes Index -

Born: December 2, 1958, Amarillo, Texas
Birth Country: USA
Occupation: Author

1.
A John Updike is a once-in-a-generation phenomenon, if that generation is lucky: so comfortable in so many genres, the same lively, generous intelligence suffusing all he did.
- George Saunders

2.
Fiction is a kind of compassion-generating machine that saves us from sloth. Is life kind or cruel? Yes, Literature answers. Are people good or bad? You bet, says Literature. But unlike other systems of knowing, Literature declines to eradicate one truth in favor of another.
- George Saunders

3.
I started out in engineering. I was a geophysical engineer. Throughout the course of my life I've done a lot of strange jobs, and the effect has been to make me think a little more skeptically about our capitalist society.
- George Saunders

4.
I still believe that capitalism is too harsh and I believe that, even within that, there is a lot of satisfaction and beauty if you happen to be one of the lucky ones, although that doesn't eradicate the reality of the suffering. It's all true at once, kind of humming and sublime.
- George Saunders

5.
I tend to foster drama via bleakness. If I want the reader to feel sympathy for a character, I cleave the character in half, on his birthday. And then it starts raining. And he's made of sugar.
- George Saunders

6.
I turned 54 this year and I find myself feeling like I'm in a bit of a race to get down on paper the way I really feel about life - or the way it has presented to me. And because it has presented to me very beautifully, this is hard. It is technically very hard to show positive manifestations.
- George Saunders

7.
I'm finding, as I get older, that I'm not much of a believer in redemption. I mean, I believe in redemption in real life - redemption does happen, and it's cool when it does - but I find myself getting leery of my desire for it in stories (especially my own).
- George Saunders

8.
If death is in the room, it's pretty interesting. But I would also say that I'm interested in getting myself to believe that it's going to happen to me. I'm interested in it, because if you're not, you're nuts. It's really de facto what we're here to find out about.
- George Saunders

9.
If you haven't read you don't have the voice. The lack of voice eliminates experience.
- George Saunders

10.
If you think of a work of fiction as a kind of scale model of the world, then the positive valences - where things turn out better than you thought they would - ought to be in there somewhere, too.
- George Saunders

11.
It's funny with fiction - once you cut something, it hasn't happened anymore.
- George Saunders

12.
My habit would have been to veer towards the dark - to prove I was something edgy, or maybe to prove that I was cognisant of the dark side. Now, with age and confidence, I can say, yeah, that's true, but I am cognisant of the fact that people can do things well. And can be more loving than you expect.
- George Saunders

13.
The best thing that ever happened to me is that nothing happened in writing. I ended up working for engineering companies, and that's where I found my material, in the everyday struggle between capitalism and grace. Being broke and tired, you don't come home your best self.
- George Saunders

14.
The cool parts - the parts that have won Dubai its reputation as 'the Vegas of the Middle East' or 'the Venice of the Middle East' or 'the Disney World of the Middle East, if Disney World were the size of San Francisco and out in a desert' - have been built in the last ten years.
- George Saunders

15.
The scariest thought in the world is that someday I'll wake up and realize I've been sleepwalking through my life: underappreciating the people I love, making the same hurtful mistakes over and over, a slave to neuroses, fear, and the habitual.
- George Saunders

16.
The universal human laws - need, love for the beloved, fear, hunger, periodic exaltation, the kindness that rises up naturally in the absence of hunger/fear/pain - are constant, predictable, reliable, universal, and are merely ornamented with the details of local culture.
- George Saunders

17.
The word 'funny' is a bit like the word 'love' - we don't have enough words to describe the many varieties.
- George Saunders

18.
We have that illusion that we are 'deciding' what to make a character do, in order to 'convey our message' or something like that. But, at least in my experience, you are often more like a river-rafting guide who's been paid a bonus to purposely steer your clients into the roughest possible water.
- George Saunders

19.
We try, we fail, we posture, we aspire, we pontificate - and then we age, shrink, die, and vanish.
- George Saunders

20.
Whatever your supposed politics are - left, right - if you put it in a human connection, most people will rise to the occasion and feel the human pain in a way that they might not if it was presented in a more conceptual way.
- George Saunders

21.
When I was a kid, I took 'The Brady Bunch' and 'The Partridge Family' very seriously. It was a world to me in the same way that the Greek myths would have been had I read them. You know, Marcia is Athena and Mr. Brady is Zeus.
- George Saunders

Quotes by George Saunders

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