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Tenth of December: Stories by George…

Tenth of December: Stories

by George Saunders

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,5161393,736 (3.93)189
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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» See also 189 mentions

English (144)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (146)
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
Saunders' stories are so original with interesting characters confronted with a moral problem. My Jesuit friend looks for movies in which the characters struggle with an ethical problem and move, sometimes in a roundabout way, to redemption. The characters in these stories remind me of this way of "seeing." Notable in the collection are the title story, Tenth of December, and Escape from Spiderhead. But all are of high quality. ( )
  estelle.siener | Aug 25, 2019 |
I agree with everyone who thinks he's a genius. ( )
  sethwilpan | Aug 12, 2019 |
Unsettling. I don't like to read reviews until I've written my own, but this is a series of short stories which need discussing. ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
Two things you need to know to evaluate whether you're gonna like this: 1) this is a collection of short stories and 2) Saunders' style of writing isn't for everyone.

Saunders subverts familiar circumstances into something less familiar and less comfortable, while keeping honesty and human truth at the core with a twinge of irony. As such, some of the stories - or rather their themes and observances - poke at you uncomfortably and may even rub you a bit raw - like a tag on clothing you've forgotten to remove before wearing.

While these stories aren't inaccessible or dense, they aren't breezy beach faire, either. If you're looking for light, entertaining reading...this probably won't be your thing. Of this collection, my favorites were:

- The eponymous Tenth of December which is about a terminally ill man en route to his own suicide rediscovering the will to live, love and be loved, even as his body fails, when he expends all his strength to save a boy from freezing to death.
- The Semplica Girl Diaries involve a father who purchases girls from a third world country to use as human lawn ornaments to impress his kids and neighbors. His youngest daughter sets the girls loose and they escape, which turns out to be a crime against the government that greatly endangers the family.
- Puppy is about the casual cruelty with which puppies and small children are sometimes treated by those who are supposed to care, love and protect them.

But there's really not a bad one in the bunch. A lot of early reviews of Tenth overhyped the collection as 'life altering' and 'mind blowing.' Few if any books can stand up to that kind of puffery and this doesn't either and isn't trying to; however, if you want something with enough fiber to stick in your ribs, give this a try.

Also highly recommended if you're looking to sample some Saunders is his graduation speech - congratulations by the way (which I love and which is good for anyone entering or closing a season of life...or just thinking about it), as well as Lincoln in the Bardo, which is a novel about Abraham Lincoln being haunted (literally and figuratively) by the childhood death of his son Willie. ( )
  angiestahl | May 6, 2019 |
This short story collection was a miss for me. The stories attempt to be full of humor and satire, while at the same time formulating opinions and perceptions of class related to character, but I did not find them to be conceptually relevant. Overall, a disappointing read. However, I will not give up on Saunders yet.

2 stars. ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 2, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 144 (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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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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