Tenth of December

Tenth of December Review

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 opening, "Victory Lab," 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 antique 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' 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."

Title:Tenth of December
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Diana

    The first and last stories in this book are, I think, masterpieces, and affected me more than I would have thought possible-- they're just short stories, after all. In the first one, a dreamy teenage...

  • Paquita Maria Sanchez

    Reading short story collections in one sitting is ill-advised, particularly when they can be as emotionally coals-rakey as Saunders can be. However, there's a certain cloudy state my head can fall in ...

  • Paul Bryant

    It's aggravating when all the critics turn out to be right and us readers just feel like we're trooping along behind them baa-ing and bleating obediently George Saunders go-o-o-o-d, Dan Brown ba-a-a-a...

  • brian

    the level of genius ain't sufficient to disguise the fact that most of these stories lack heart*. consider DFW and maureen mchugh, both of whom paint with roughly the same palette -- y'know, the pomo'...

  • Steve

    You know those disconcerting dreams where nothing you can do will seem right; lose-lose propositions are the only ones on offer? Well George Saunders is the large deluxe pizza you ate before bed. He's...

  • Kemper

    One of the stories in this collection features experimental drugs that can enhance someone’s verbal ability to describe an event. I feel like I could use a few doses of that stuff to help me review ...

  • MJ Nicholls

    My second foray into Saunders after a lukewarm response to Pastoralia was an unprecedented success. His writing has sharpened its teeth and mellowed its heart and toned down its comedic chutzpah and t...

  • Diane

    I like reading short stories but I hate writing about them. A short story is so fleeting and ephemeral -- it's like trying to describe a cloud.This collection of 10 short stories by George Saunders is...

  • Natalie Tyler

    Saunders is not for me; he is cut from a cloth that I cannot comfortably wear. I would categorize him with Pynchon, Eggers, Donald Barthelme, de Lillo, David Foster Wallace, Thom Jones, and Ward Just....

  • Matthew Quann

    I knew that I liked George Saunders' after loving last year's Lincoln in the Bardo , but this short story collection made me want to run out and grab everything else he's done. There's a palpable thr...