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Tenth of December: Stories (edition 2013)

by George Saunders

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1,7691063,979 (3.93)149
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 (109)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  English (111)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
Man, this was good. Bleak, dark, depressing - so very human - and so damn good. ( )
  emma_mc | Oct 21, 2016 |
Let me start by saying that I did not finish this book. But it was so painful to read the first few stories that I am counting it as a book read. George Saunders is considered a master of the short story by many. Not me. If your definition of mastery is coming up with irritating style quirks and topics that no one else would want to write about (let alone read about), then I guess he is a master.

I did not finish the first story, which is about a fantasizing teenager. The overwrought, self-conscious style was just too annoying. The second story, which covered two pages, was about a mean-spirited man whose only joy was dressing two crossed poles in front of the house for the appropriate season. In the end he dies, a young couple buys his house, and the poles are put out in the trash. The end.

It was the third story that did me in. The main character is a woman with two spoiled children and a sicko husband. She is in the habit of bringing home small animals offered to good homes--so that her husband can kill them. A ferret, an iguana, a whole litter of kittens, and now she is considering a puppy. Maybe I'm living in a fantasy world myself, but I do not want to read about people that torture and kill defenseless animals and the people that enable him. That is just SICK!!!

I will not finish this book, and I will never read anything written by George Saunders again. ( )
1 vote | Cariola | Sep 29, 2016 |
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."

My Review
After reading this book, I must say that satirical fiction is not for me. I found this book very difficult to read. The words did not flow and I really was not interested in what the author was trying to relate. There are a lot of good reviews for this book so some people did benefit from reading it. Not sure if I could honestly recommend it as I wouldn't want to put anyone else through the pain it was for me to read. ( )
1 vote EadieB | Sep 22, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 109 (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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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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