"The part of the mind that reads a story is also the part that reads the world," George Saunders writes in A Swim in a Pond in the Rain. It's perhaps the truest distillation of Saunders' visionary life and work, encapsulating the characteristic generosity and humanity of his artistic outlook. Saunders has spent over two decades teaching creative writing in Syracuse University’s MFA program, where his most beloved class explores the 19th-century Russian short story in translation. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, Saunders has distilled decades of coursework into a lively and profound master class, exploring the mechanics of fiction through seven memorable stories by Chekhov, Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Gogol. In these warm, sublimely specific essays, Saunders’ astounding powers of analysis come into full view, as does his gift for linking art with life. By becoming better readers, Saunders argues, we can become better citizens of the world.