A swim in a pond in the rain
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A swim in a pond in the rain

For the last twenty years, George Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it's more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a deep exploration not just of how great writing works but of how the mind itself works while reading, and of how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.


One of the best guides on writing and creativity I think I've ever had the pleasure of reading. The writing is snappy, the structure compelling and Saunders is an excellent teacher. Somehow he's giving me Excentric-Skilled-Harvard-Professor vibes just through text. Systematically working through some of his favourite short stories he happily picks them apart while always giving them the warm treatment of someone who clearly loves storytelling. The best marks I can give this book is that every time I put it down I feel like picking up my laptop to write. 

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