Review of “A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Masterclass on Writing, Reading, & Life” by George Saunders

Saunders’ book contains seven short stories in addition to his commentary on each. Out of the seven stories, three are by Anton Chekov, two by Leo Tolstoy, and the others are by Ivan Turgenev and Nikolai Gogol. The book is based on a university course on nineteenth-century Russian short stories that Saunders has been teaching for twenty years.

Comparing the number of stories included in the book to the thirty he usually assigns to his students, Saunders draws our attention — at the very outset — to the importance and necessity of decisions, anticipating a central theme in the commentaries: decisions and taking responsibility. Joining Saunders, we begin to notice how the four masters made decisions, and we begin to think about the stories and their significance in terms of those decisions. (Read the full review on Medium)