I’ve read a fair cross section of writing advice books, from John Gardner’s “The
Art of Fiction,” to Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird” and Stephen King’s “On
Writing.” Inevitably, these kinds of books come around to a singlepoint, their
climax, where they grapple with the beauty of fiction. They try to get their
hands around it, grasp it and tame the beast they’ve dedicated their lives to.
George Saunders’ “A Swim in a Pond in the Rain” is in many respects no
different. It, too, is trying to hunt dow