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Tenth of December: Stories by George…

Tenth of December: Stories (original 2013; edition 2013)

by George Saunders

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2,8681553,432 (3.95)191
A collection of stories which includes "Home," a wryly whimsical account of a soldier's return from war; "Victory lap," a tale about an inventive abduction attempt; and the title story, in which a suicidal cancer patient saves the life of a young misfit.
Title:Tenth of December: Stories
Authors:George Saunders
Info:Random House (2013), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders (2013)


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Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
George Saunders has been known as an excellent short-story writer. This is my first experience with him (it won't be my last!) but some of his previous collections are highly-regarded. This collection was a mixture of slightly altered universes that you would not believe you would find in our current world and stories of ordinary people that you would fully expect could live in the town or city you find yourself. I found the stories "Victory Lap", "Escape from Spiderhead" and "The Semplica Girl Diaries" to be my favorites, but I enjoyed them all, including the two-page "Sticks".

Of the stories that focused on situations that you would find in everyday life, "Home" describes a war veteran, who committed some untold atrocity, returning home and beginning the process of reconnecting with family. Was he guilty? It would seem so, but there seems to be little interest in understanding the situation in which he committed these acts. We judge using our world as the baseline, not recognizing that many people, including us perhaps, might behave in unforeseen ways if forced into a similar situation. ( )
  afkendrick | Oct 24, 2020 |
Just a bit too much "style" for my taste. Fine writing, somewhat interesting, started skipping immediately. ( )
  tmph | Sep 13, 2020 |
These stories take place in that (familiar) slice of venn diagram where "sympathetic" and "pathetic" overlap. Feels like what would happen if Chris Ware wrote prose. ( )
  jimctierney | Jul 7, 2020 |
Lovely that these are hilarious, complex, completely unique. Nice to see this shot in the arm to the usual dull as ditch water kind of story favored in "literary" fiction. ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
Dystopian stories with hearts of gold. Saunders has an uncanny ability to transcribe those weird, only partly formed little thoughts we have and weave them into powerful, and funny, narratives. A unique book. ( )
  nancyjean19 | Jun 3, 2020 |
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No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised, those Americans who struggle to pay the bills, make the rent, hold onto a job they might detest — folks who find their dreams slipping from their grasp as they frantically tread water, trying to keep from drowning.

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Saunders, Georgeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Damsma, HarmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lovell, JoelForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miedema, NiekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Three days shy of her fifteenth birthday, Alison Pope paused at the top of the stairs.
Based on the experience of my life, which I have not exactly hit out of the park, I tend to agree with that thing about, If it's not broke, don't fix it. And would go even further to: Even if it is broke, leave it alone, you'll probably make it worse.
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A collection of stories which includes "Home," a wryly whimsical account of a soldier's return from war; "Victory lap," a tale about an inventive abduction attempt; and the title story, in which a suicidal cancer patient saves the life of a young misfit.

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One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet.

In the taut opener, “Victory Lap,” a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In “Home,” a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. A hapless, deluded owner of an antiques store; two mothers struggling to do the right thing; a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush with reality; a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments that force him to lust, to love, to kill—the unforgettable characters that populate the pages of Tenth of December are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders’s signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation.

Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience. These stories take on the big questions and explore the fault lines of our own morality, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what makes us human.

Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December—through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit—not only entertain and delight; they fulfill Chekhov’s dictum that art should “prepare us for tenderness.”
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