Oof. It's like Raymond Carver has come back and is slightly less grumpy, a little more hip, and a teeny weeny bit less depressing.
That's a positive review, really it is! Because I love Raymond Carver - in all his spooky, crazy, true, oh-so-real attitude towards life. Saunders writes similarly, focusing on people who are down on their luck, but his focus seems to explain and clarify rather than obscure. That may seem strange to folks who have read Saunders' work before. What I mean is that each intriguing story has a purpose that we understand immediately and have a vague idea of where it is heading. It is not heading there! (In most cases.) But the situation is immediately understandable, and therefore our ride along its path engages us rather than furrows our brows.
Also, he comes up with the worst game-show idea ever. Yes, that is also a positive review.