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Tenth of December: Stories by George…

Tenth of December: Stories (edition 2013)

by George Saunders

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Title:Tenth of December: Stories
Authors:George Saunders
Info:Random House (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 272 pages
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Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders


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Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
Tenth of December: Stories is a thought-provoking collection of stories by George Saunders. These stories will make you sad, surprised, perhaps even a bit angry; all of these are good ways to respond to such stories.

These are not for readers who simply want a short story that begins and ends, leaving little behind but the aftertaste of a good story. Those kinds of stories are wonderful also but this ain't them! These should make you want to stop and think. You should fill in some gaps with your own interpretations of what is being said. These stories have a beginning and end but there is less of an aftertaste and more of a dessert when you reflect on these stories. I also noticed a couple of reviewers completely misread (as in somehow got confused about which character killed and which didn't, not as in simply a different interpretation) so I guess if you find you are put off by a story wait before reading the next or you're likely to interject your own distaste into the next story and completely misread. These stories don't lend themselves to skimming, you will miss key transitions and details.

I am not implying a hierarchical idea of what types of stories or readers are involved here, simply in different tastes and expectations. Many readers want there to be no input from their imagination to complete the story, even stories that stay with them and carry great weight. Those readers will likely be frustrated here unless they don't mind periodically reading these types of stories, in which case I think you will be pleased. I shared one of the stories in the collection with a couple friends of mine and we all came away with the same general feeling but quite different interpretations. Where I saw someone who struggled to communicate yet felt remorse for not doing better, someone else saw a bitter person through and through and the other saw someone who changed from something just short of bitter to someone remorseful. We all felt a general feeling of melancholy, so I would say it worked well.

I would also recommend reading this less like a short book that can technically be read in a couple hours and more like a book of essays or a nonfiction book that might require slower and more careful reading interspersed with time to digest each morsel. While I don't read as many of these kinds of books as I used to I find that they often stay with me the longest.

Reviewed from a copy made available through Goodreads First Reads. ( )
  pomo58 | Mar 3, 2017 |
Really enjoyable! I hardly recall ever reading anything this quickly.

Saunders is a master at realistically (how would I know, though?) capturing the chaotic and often illogical inner voices that people talk to themselves with. This book was so compulsively readable precisely because the words on the pages are so alike the voice that everyone is most familiar with; their own, in their head.

The stories, ranging from contemporary to futuristic, build up a sense of unease in the reader. In almost every one, one realizes from the start that something is looming beneath the surface, about to be revealed. In others, everything already seems to be out in the open; the protagonist just has to come to terms with it.

I don't refer specifically to the stories because if I would then I'd probably only focus on those that moved me the most; Victory Lap, Puppy, Escape from Spiderhead, Al Roosten, and Tenth of December. While Saunders is often funny as hell, this collection stood out to me because of the feeling I got while reading when the author managed to capture all that can go wrong in modern life, or perhaps, life in all ages, past and yet to come.
1 vote bartt95 | Jan 15, 2017 |
This collection of short stories blew my mind. Saunders uses language in totally innovative and enlightening ways, from mimicking the interior speech of a pair of teenagers, to creating a shorthand for a sad-sack bureacrat's furturistic journal. The stories often have a violent edge to them, but they are incredibly humane and moving at their heart. I loved this book.

**Even better on a second reading. I was constantly dazzled by Saunders's linguistic inventiveness, and moved to tears with both "Victory Lap" and "Tenth of December." ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Over all, pretty disappointing. Even if a story or two was interesting, their flaccid endings almost always negated any ground gained. ( )
  beckyrenner | Dec 29, 2016 |
I am usually not a lover of the short story, unless of course Poe was the scribe, but I really enjoyed this collection. I especially enjoyed the title story, 'Tenth of December' and the opening story, 'Victory Lap', maybe because they were the two stories that were a bit more cheery! ( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
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.

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George Saundersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lovell, JoelForewordsecondary 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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Book description
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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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.… (more)

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