George Saunders is an amazing short story author. I’d put him up there with Kelly Link, Steven Millhauser and Jorge Luis Borges in my pantheon of personal favorites. However, until Lincoln in the Bardo, Saunders had never published a novel. This seems to be a common trait among the short story authors I love; they rarely, if ever, turn their talents to novel-length works.
The Tsar of Love and Techno is a hilarious and affecting novel masquerading as a short story collection. It has a lot in common with David Mitchell’s genre-hopping patchwork masterpieces, but here the linked stories don’t feel quite so much like a stylistic exercise (and I say that as a huge fan of Mitchell’s work).