The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil

The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil

by George Saunders

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594481529
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/06/2005
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 238,120
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

George Saunders is the Man Booker Prize-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo; Tenth of DecemberIn Persuasion NationThe Brief and Frightening Reign of PhilPastoraliaCivilWarLand in Bad DeclineThe Braindead Megaphone; and a children's book, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip. His work appears regularly in the New YorkerHarper's and GQ. In 2006, he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant." In 2000, The New Yorker named him one of the "Best Writers Under 40."  He is a 2013 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction. He teaches at Syracuse University.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for George Saunders:

"An astoundingly tuned voice—graceful, dark, aunthentic, and funny—telling just the kinds of stories we need to get us through these times."—Thomas Pynchon

"Mr. Saunders writes like the illegitamate offspring of Nathanael West and Kurt Vonnegut. His satiric vision of America is dark and demented; it is also ferocious and very funny."—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"A master of distilling the disorders of our time into fiction."—Salon.com

Customer Reviews

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Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars. You won't find CivilWarLand- or Pastoralia-grade laughs here, but you'll find a few. You'll also find a withering commentary on the basic human tendency to separate the world into Us and Them, and on the often concomitant basic human tendency to blindly follow leaders who define the 'Us's and 'Thems's in ways that soothe Us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I noticed that a previous commenter referred to this book as "stupid/peurile," and I couldn't agree more! I give this book five stars because it's supposed to be "stupid." The entire 130 pages, in large font, double-spaced, takes place in the land of Inner and Outer Horner, home to strange, human-like characters. The story of this absurd, miniature realm finds humor in two miserable, offensive things: genocide and fascism. The overdramatic style reflects the most absurd characters, the president (Phil) and his advisor, the uncertain soldiers, and the loud-mouthed media (with megaphones growing out of their clavicles). This book has some very dark, silly humor, and is reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s novels with a more Seussical style. It’s short and highly entertaining, so you easily get caught up in it, only to realize you’ve finished! I loved it, and I found it perfect for a boring, lazy afternoon.
CliffBurns on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Yet another unique offering by Saunders, one of the ten best writers working in America. No one writes like this guy, he and Jim Shepard are in a league of their own.
jimmydare on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I was disappointed with this book, but it might have to do with my enthusiasm for Saunders' previous books, Pastoralia and Civilwarland in Bad Decline. Those books depicted the world with opaque symbolism and weird metaphor. The characters work in theme parks, live in trailers, and eat fast food, but everything is tinged with strangeness. It¿s a sci-fi surrealism that mingle Vonnegut and Wallmart.The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil does away with the playful opacity of those books in favor of a much less subtle satire. The characters are the same sort of naive everymen who struggled through Civilwarland, but the themes of political repression and totalitarianism are much more bluntly drawn. Phil is a caricature of right leaning populist blowhard - George Bush - and the book is a critique of immigration policy, national borders, totalitarianism, and wealth inequity. Which sounds great, but the lesson, at the end, is simply that those things are bad. Maybe Saunders is best when it's not entirely clear what he's getting at.
HvyMetalMG on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Very quick but enjoying read. Sort of like Animal Farm in a sci-fi version. An obvious moral tale about what we are doing in Iraq.
danofthedead33 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book is very, very short. Which is good because it is stupid, but stupid can be good sometimes and in small doses. You really can't imaging the detail of the book, because it seems to be written from a very abstract point of view. Kinda of like the characters are from some other dimension. I did enjoy the story. To keep it simple, it seems to be about how retarded we (the human race) can act with power but no real knowledge or direction which to apply it. All scaled down. It has it's funny points as well as it touching moments. Far to weird for me to give it more than three stars though.
TooHotty on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book is easy and clever and makes merry sport mocking the way things are handled in the world. It's a little bizarre, so don't expect some straightfoward satire. I'm not even sure if the people in it are people or robots or freaky alien things made of stuff dug up in the backyard. All I know is that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
PaulMysterioso on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The modern master of satire, George Saunders, gives us a modernist distopia full of searing wit and biting satire. A gem of a novella, though his short stories may stand up better.
middleearthtraveller on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Excellent reading--made me laugh out loud!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters are totally one dimensional. The morals are completely black and white and the plot does go anywhere surprising....
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm be too embarrassed to use 'stupid' as a review for a book, so I looked for an adequate synonym and thought this fit: 'peurile,' which is especially apropos of the writing style exemplified by this book. But 'stupid' might suit the purpose better, because 'Reign of Phil' is truly unworthy of any higher criticism.