George Saunders is one of the most celebrated fiction writers today but his new book looks back to examine great stories of the past. "A Swim in the Pond in the Rain" is a close look at seven classic 19th century Russian short stories that grew out of a class he's long taught on Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy and Gogol as a creative writing teacher. Saunders approaches the work with a writer's curiosity. "The focus of my artistic life has been trying to learn to write emotionally moving stories that a reader feels compelled to finish," he writes. If a story drew us in, kept us reading, made us feel respected, how did it do that? We talk to Saunders about reading, writing and great literature.
Writer George Saunders and the Russian Masters on Writing, Reading and Life
Winning author George Saunders on stage at the Man Booker Prize dinner and reception at The Guildhall on October 17, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Chris Jackson WPA Pool / Getty Images)
George Saunders, author, "A Swim in the Pond in the Rain"; his previous books include "Lincoln in the Bardo" and "Tenth of December"