Author: George Saunders
Published: 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing plc
Read: July 2014
Why it made it to the top of the pile: George Saunders is so lauded a master of the short story, I thought I'd start here before reading The Tenth of December
Full Disclosure: Purchased
Trivia Tidbit: After working as a field geophysicist, a doorman, a roofer, a convenience store clerk, and a slaughterhouse worker, Saunders applied to study for an MFA at Syracuse University, where he studied with Tobias Wolff and Douglas Unger.
The title story of the collection is about the employees of a theme park where humans are the exhibits. The employees are exhorted to immerse themselves in a life as authentic cavemen, grunting at each other during the day and submitting performance evaluations of their coworkers at the end of each shift. The take on management-speak employed by Pastoralia management is completely ridiculous, yet manages to sound almost-plausible:
We find ourselves in a too-many-Indians situation and so must first cut some Indians and then, later, possibly, some chiefs. But not yet, because that is us. Soon, but not yet, we have to decide which of us to remove, and that is so very hard, because we are so very useful.