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Description, Categories and Awards


NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST - NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY "THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW" NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY"People - The New York Times Magazine - "NPR - "Entertainment Weekly - New York - The Telegraph - BuzzFeed - Kirkus Reviews - BookPage - Shelf Awareness" Includes an extended conversation with David Sedaris 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." "NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER "The best book you'll read this year."--"The New York Times Magazine"" " "A feat of inventiveness . . . This eclectic collection never ceases to delight with its at times absurd, surreal, and darkly humorous look at very serious subjects. . . . George Saunders makes you feel as though you are reading fiction for the first time."--Khaled Hosseini, author of "The Kite Runner" "The best short-story writer in English--not 'one of, ' not 'arguably, ' but the Best."--Mary Karr, "Time " "A visceral and moving act of storytelling . . . No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised."--Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"" " "Saunders's startling, dreamlike stories leave you feeling newly awakened to the world."--"People" GEORGE SAUNDERS WAS NAMED ONE OF THE 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD BY "TIME" MAGAZINE


Popular Fiction
I didn't enjoy this book because I wasn't able to keep up with the different short stories. If you are into short stories though, this book is definitely for you! Some of the stories are very interesting, including Escape from Spiderhead, which was my favorite short story. It is so interesting how they control human emotions-I would hope our future isn't like that!

American journalist George Saunders is often known for his short stories; a finalist for the 2006 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for his first collection of stories, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. His second collection In Persuasion Nation was a finalist for The Story Prize (2007). So when his third book of short stories came out this year Tenth of December you can bet it received a lot of buzz.

I’ve personally not read George Saunders before but when people keep calling him one of the best writers in this medium I knew I had to check him out. Tenth of December reminded me firstly of Deborah Levy’s collection of short stories Black Vodka, simply because it had that same feel to them (at least for me); that contemporary and witty flavour with an element of darkness.

Tenth of December blends ten thought provoking stories with his own blend of satire that is often heading towards a cliché but always manages to avoid it. The humour mixed with the bittersweet and sometimes dangerous plots are clever and unpredictable. I never really thought of myself as a fan of short stories in the past but I’ve discovered so many really great contemporary collections well worth exploring. Tenth of December will be joining that list along with Black Vodka by Deborah Levy and Revenge by Yoko Ogawa.

Nothing like reading a short story before bed, especially when you have no idea where the author is going to take you. George Saunders does a great job at this and I’ve heard this is the weaker of his short story collections; if this is the case I can’t wait to read some more. Highly recommend this to people interested into something complex and satirical that deals with ludicrousness, fear and rescue. Most stories originally appeared in The New Yorker and highlights for me include Escape from Spiderhead, The Semplica Girl Diaries and Home.

I have never read George Saunders before, somehow he never appeared on my reading radar, but that will definitely change now I’ve read his latest collection: Tenth of December. I looked for it after reading its amazing New York Times review. It sounded just like my kind of story: a bit twisted, wacky and dark, but also quite thought provoking. I was not disappointed. These stories are at times scary and at times hilariously funny, and the imagery is strong enough to be stuck in my head for a long time. Saunders takes on some big subjects: the wackiness of contemporary consumerism; corporate culture; anonymous suburbia; and all sorts of ordinary people who just don’t seem to be able to reach their dreams. Part of the problem with all these dreams is that Saunders characters are almost always blissfully unaware of their own capabilities and limitations. Their dreams are completely out of proportions with who they really are, which sits nicely with Saunders challenging the whole idea of the “American Dream” and the sense of entitlement that these characters are pumped with all their lives.
My only problem with the whole collection was that I found it a bit uneven: some stories spoke to me a lot stronger than others. The two I liked the best were: Escape from Spiderhead and The Semplica Girl Diaries. The first one gave me nightmares as it describes a quasi-medical experiment going very wrong in some futuristic society. The pacing of this piece is fantastic, as with every page I was peeling another layer of meaning and getting more and more horrified when realizing why these experiments were happening and who was the subject of them. It is a brutal story but what is even scarier is that I could actually imagine something like this happening in some not so distant future. The second story, The Semplica Girl Diaries, made me laugh out aloud a few times as it is a commentary on a very strange version of consumerism and the desire to reach certain status at any cost. The main protagonist of this story who narrates the whole piece is a father of a family of three who simply wants the best for all of them. He is not particularly smart and he seems to be blissfully unaware of the consequences of many of his actions but he is not evil, so one really ends sympathizing with him especially when he becomes a victim of unscrupulous business practices.
I really loved the narrative style of all these stories, the way that we get in the heads of the characters without hearing the author’s commentary at the same time. Saunders creates a pretty creepy world, but it is not without some redemptive qualities and there are many really funny moments in it too. Well worth the read!


A Conversation with George Saunders on his book "Tenth of December"