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Tenth of December: Stories (edition 2013)

by George Saunders

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1,6881034,233 (3.94)139
Member:KatyBee
Title:Tenth of December: Stories
Authors:George Saunders
Info:Random House (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Rating:*****
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Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders

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English (106)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (108)
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
I am too inept to even begin to express how much I love George Saunders' writing. Simply brilliant, imaginative, moving, and thought-provoking.
I would totally be the girl with love you written on my eyelids if I was sitting in one of his creative writing classes:)
The man is deserving of every accolade that has been bestowed upon him.
( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
What makes a short story good? I mean the kind where you get to the end and maybe sit there thinking, "What just happened?" and further "What just happened to me?" The writer took you somewhere unexpected, but once arrived, you can't avoid facing that it's the right place (often a place you didn't really want to go.) The final story, "The Tenth of December" is especially like that and I am going to keep this book around to remind me of the point it makes, which I can't take apart here or I would be spoiling it for you. You could argue that his stories and a couple of others, because they have (in a way) "happy" (not really) endings that they are sentimental, but how can a story about a boy finding his courage be sappy? Most of the time, in fact, people notice, say, that the baby is crawling too near the pool or about to pull the tablecloth off the loaded table; most of the time, you brake, you swerve, you do the right thing. Sometimes there is no right choice to make, they are all bad and Saunders writes about that with profound compassion and rightness. The majority of the stories are about the way circumstances can force a person to make those hard choices, to give in or to find the strength (courage) to resist, or act or do whatever the circumstances require of them. Sometimes a character does the right thing for the wrong reasons and ends up somewhere new and we watch a their surprise and we end up surprised too, but with a slightly additional (parental?) layer of knowing how hard this new resolve or insight is going to be for that person to hang onto. Saunder's writing style will either drive you mad or you will fall into its embrace, and yes, I wrote this review just slightly under his spell because that is the effect reading Saunders has; he brings out that hesitating layered way we actually think, two steps forward, one back. I've read pretty much all of these in the NYer at one time or another and was thrilled to revisit. One of my very favorites is "My Chivalric Fiasco" which is just funny-awful but somehow full of charm. ***** ( )
1 vote sibyx | Jun 4, 2016 |
A couple of these stories reminded me very much of Flowers for Algernon. Did you guys all have to read that back in eighth grade, too? In any case, that's one of my favorite stories of all time, so I loved the fact that these seemed to be paying it a bit of homage. At the same time, though, having that story so strongly in my head made my favorites here seem a bit derivative. That, coupled with the fact that the longest story was probably my least favorite, is why I felt, in the end, that four stars was a more accurate rating than five. Still, I really enjoyed this book and it was a quick satisfying read. Highly recommend. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Friends with David Foster Wallace & similar in style to a point – though funnier and more accessible. And about the wider world rather than the often trapped solipsistic view of Wallace. Short stories about life distorted by the pressures and absurdities of the free market and ultra-competitive capitalism. It reminded me of a little known writer from the 70s (appeared in the New Yorker often) called Don Barthelme – though again more engaged with the world, or his version of the world than the frequently Godelesque language games of Don B. ( )
  marek2010 | Mar 7, 2016 |
This is likely my favorite collection of stories ever. It turns out I read each one along the way as they appeared in the new Yorker but in spite of laughing and crying and wondering at each one, I didn't bother to buy the author's books. A friend recommended this book to me, and then I was tickled to remember each story in the collection like meeting an old friend at a party, years later, and reminiscing about old times. That said, I haven't read his other books, and I fear I will love the others just as much, rendering this book as just one of my favorite books ever. ( )
  mickeyhadick | Feb 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 106 (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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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George Saundersprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lovell, JoelForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Pat Pacino
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Three days shy of her fifteenth birthday, Alison Pope paused at the top of the stairs.
Quotations
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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