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Tenth of December: Stories (2013)

by George Saunders

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,1291633,276 (3.95)194
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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Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
(51) Very rarely do I willingly read a short story collection - usually I come upon them by accident mistaking them for a novel as with this collection by Saunders. I enjoyed 'Lincoln on the Bardo,' and I think purchased this on a whim unknowingly. Short stories tend to be so unsatisfying for me and while this was quite good, my feeling on the genre is unchanged. This is a collection of 10 short stories ranging from just a few pages to some with several chapters. They all had a very dark vibe and were dystopian is style. Most of the characters were young or middle aged men pushing back unsuccessfully against a tide of despair and the unravelling of their lives. Depressing, but well written. A few ended without resolution just when I was getting into them as per usual with short stories. Sigh.

I most liked the 'Semplica Girl Diaries' and 'Tenth of December' being the longer more fleshed out stories. It was often difficult in these stories to know exactly what was going on - the author just launches you in with very little preamble and as you read, you figure out what is going on. Especially as with 'Escape from Spiderhead,' which was my least favorite. Saunders does an excellent internal nervous monologue of his protagonists that feels spot-on and authentic. I remember that skill from 'Lincoln.'

This is a quickly read well-written collection. It is disturbing and depressing although the last story ends with some hope that life may be worth living. I would look forward to another novel from this author. ( )
  jhowell | Sep 26, 2021 |
I only read this short story collection for my book club. It was extremely disturbing and not my cup of tea. ( )
  Tytania | Sep 21, 2021 |
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
My edition of Tenth of December quotes Jennifer Egan as saying, "Subversive, hilarious, and emotionally piercing." Two things: I'm not sure if this quote was specific to Tenth of December or was lifted from an earlier Saunders' collection & I don't often quote writers in my reviews bc it feels a bit like plagiarism. Yet, yet...The final two stories in the collection are My Chivalric Fiasco & the title story. In My Chivalric Fiasco a maintenance worker is promoted to a Pacing Guard in what I pictured as a Medieval Times Restaurant after witnessing his supervisor sleeping with a co-worker at a company party. It then turns into a bit like Saunders rewriting Don Quixote as a short story set in contemporary society. It was one of the funniest stories I've ever read. In the title story, the final one in the collection, Saunders tackles youth & death, personal & social responsibilities. It's a perfect piece to end a brilliant collection. It soars, but there's an earned gravitas to it. There's not a false emotional note to it.
George Saunders is the Kurt Vonnegut of our age & I say that as an enormous Vonnegut fan. I feel so blessed to be alive while he's publishing new books. ( )
  vivastory | Jul 27, 2021 |
A lovely gift, and half the fun is in the unwrapping. While trying to figure out the procession of unreliable narrators, you can't help but empathize with them, or get the uneasy feeling you could be joining them.
  rynk | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 163 (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.

» 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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