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George Saunders’ Pastoralia is an exaggerated dystopia of late capitalist America, merging the spirit of James Thurber with the world of the Simpsons. In his entry in Ig’s acclaimed Bookmarked series, award-winning author Charles Holdefer addresses how Saunders captures the pain and absurdity of the American service sector, and does justice to the dignity of the people who struggle there.
Charles Holdefer has published four novels with the Permanent Press. His short fiction has appeared in many magazines, including the New England Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, North American Review, Los Angeles Review, Slice, and Yellow Silk. His story The Raptor won a Pushcart Prize in 2016. Holdefer grew up in Iowa and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Sorbonne. He currently teaches at the University of Poitiers, France.