What are the themes and analyses for "In Persuasion Nation"?

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George Saunders' short story collection, In Persuasion Nation, is eclectic in characters and scenarios, yet they are all subtle critiques on late-20th century and post-millennium American society. In particular, the stories convey a sense of disillusionment to the consumer culture of the 1990s.

Saunders also articulates his observations on the modern suburban life in America, such as the story of two Eastern European women who experienced alienation in the well-manicured suburbs. Other stories are allegories about the late 20th century's global political climate, as in the case of "The Red Bow," which is about a group of people who kill dogs and other pets throughout the community. They eventually convince the entire town to adopt a policy of killing all dogs, all in the name of revenge. This is a criticism of the totalitarian regimes throughout the last century.

In all, the stories feature characters who are trying to make sense of the social, economic and political culture of the West, which is filled with hypocrisies and illusions of sophistication.

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