My first two books, especially, came out of a kind of shock at the realization that life could be hard and capitalism could be harsh. And that it could be harsh to me. I don’t know why that was a revelation to me, but it was. Those stories tended to be located around the places where things went wrong, and people were cruel to one another, and so on. They reflected what was probably the most urgent truth operating in me at that time: oh, shit, things can go wrong, and if they do, people get hurt, and I might be one of them, in spite of the fact that I am, you know, me.
via On “Tenth of December”: An Interview With George Saunders : The New Yorker.