I’ve read a few Barnes & Noble “reviews” from folks who didn’t “get” these stories, and while I can understand why (Let’s face it: not everyone is up to the challenge of provocative prose), I also feel a little sorry for them. Saunders is perhaps more forgiving of humanity for all of its weirdness than those harsh critics are of him. These stories compel us to empathize with people who are guilty, disturbed, and downtrodden, not to mention everyone in between. Saunders displays great wit and wisdom while examining the lives of people in difficult situations (for example, in the first story, a teenage boy sees the girl who lives next-door to him being taken hostage and has to decide what to do), and his sentences are well-crafted without calling attention to themselves.
So, consider yourself warned: these stories may stun you.