The 9 quick tales in George Saunders’ Liberation Day (7 hours) prowl the spectrum of dystopian premises and fall into two classes: tales about households, co-workers and neighbors navigating their relationships amid troubling present occasions; and tales about future people who’re reprogrammed as automatons (with the robotic voices to match) underneath different folks’s command.
In these disorienting worlds, downtrodden individuals who have develop into petty and grotesque discover not revenge however poetic justice. After writing an essay that conjures up a criminal offense, the titular mom of “Mother of Daring Motion” runs by means of an inventory of fine deeds she can be prone to do, equivalent to step into slush on another person’s behalf. In “Ghoul,” an worker at an underground Hell-themed amusement park realizes that he’s in love and able to die for his beloved.
And but, understated goodness shines by means of, and we witness victories each quotidian and experimental. Tales are narrated by Saunders and an all-star forged of comedians and actors: Tiny Fey, Stephen Root, Michael McKean, Edi Patterson, Jenny Slate, Jack McBrayer and Melora Hardin. Saunders’ biting, clipped writing model, paired with these narrators’ parodying voices, leads to a darkish comedy triumph with a satirical but redemptive twist.