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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 78 (next | show all)
How a book of short stories manages *so well* to be both adroit social commentary, heart-wrending AND laugh out loud funny is beyond me. But Saunders did it. I felt like the last (and title bearing) story was kind of anticlimactic. I wanted to ache but Saunders denied it, whether that was on purpose? I'm not sophisticated enough to get it, if that's the case. In any event, this was a fantastic read, really must-read material. ( )
  eenerd | Jul 30, 2014 |
So glad I finally read him- can't wait to read more ( )
  abbeyhar | Jul 23, 2014 |
So glad I finally read him- can't wait to read more ( )
  abbeyhar | Jul 23, 2014 |
So glad I finally read him- can't wait to read more ( )
  abbeyhar | Jul 23, 2014 |
Judging from all the commentary, George Saunders is--and has been--the most significant American writer that I've never heard of. His name didn't even ring a bell, but the reviews I skimmed treat him on par with Don DeLillo, Thomas Pynchon and Kurt Vonnegut.

The collection of his stories in The Tenth of December fell somewhat short of the hype, but only somewhat. The stories are funny, the language is fresh, the shifting perspectives of the narration in many of the stories interesting, and many of the stories were well constructed with clear denouements or twists or other forms of resolution (unlike Karen Russell's first collection of stories, for example).

The thematic consistencies between the stories are also interesting, including mind altering drugs, amusement parks, soulless corporations and bureaucracies, and misfits/loners functioning in that environment. A couple of the stories were particularly striking: Victory Lap (shifting in perspective between a light-headed teenage girl, a mentally deranged attempted rapist, and a boy next store debating whether to intervene), Escape from Spiderhead (about experiments with mind-altering drugs on prisoners, alternating between intense love/happiness drugs and deeply depressing ones), The Semplica Girl Diaries (about a lower-middle class family that wins the lottery and in an attempt to keep up with their neighbors buys a set of what are called SGs, which are third world refugees who are strung up as lawn ornaments), My Chivalric Fiasco (about a worker at a medieval recreation given a drug to make him think/talk like a knight and the fiasco that follows, the language in this one is particularly fun), and the Tenth of December (shifting in perspective between a man trying to drown himself and an imaginative boy who almost drowns believing he is going to save him, but then needs to be saved in turn).

The stories, however, transcend humor and satire to present a compelling vision of very real, very humane characters who are struggling to function in the very difficult world around them. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (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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Three days shy of her fifteenth birthday, Alison Pope paused at the top of the stairs.
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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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