On Friday evening, I went to go see George Saunders and Jonathan Lethem at the Housing Works Used Book Cafe.
The evening started with a three song performance by local band The Nighttime, who played the Lethem-lyriced Monster Eyes. The band was not especially memorable and seemed a bit nervous, although the girl singer seemed to have a few mild Karen O. affectations, thus reminding me to listen to some Yeah Yeah Yeahs at some point.
Lethem then read a selection from You Don't Love Me Yet.
Saunders read The Bohemians from In Persuasion Nation. I think there were a few people there who had gone for Lethem but probably left very impressed with Saunders. There was a point at which he was getting laughs for every sentence.
After Saunders finished, he and Lethem sat on the little mock stage and answered audience questions. During this period, they affirmed that they are officially friends and that their receipt of Macarthur grants has turned them both into communists. Saunders spoke of a novel he tried to write that included the grand mall of Syracuse that has never really happened. (maybe this?) He claimed that he is comfortable now with not writing a "big" novel. Neither author has plans to write under a pseudonym.
All in all, an enjoyable and charming time, even if I had to stand the whole time.