Tenth of December: Stories

Editorial reviews

Tenth of December: Stories

As well of exploring imaginary places and worlds, Saunders is also interested in investigating the inner minds of all kinds of “unusual” people, including teenagers, making them seem authentic, familiar and wholly unexpected all at the same time.

Saunders’s frequent use of interior monologue and multiple perspectives gives the stories a complexity they otherwise would have lacked.... This is one of the most accomplished books of short fiction you will ever read.

These stories refuse to be read casually, demanding your full attention not only to process the awesome/weird sentences, but also slapping you around with emotional profundities like nobody’s business.

It’s a hard trick that Saunders pulls off, every time, and it’s this: He does what he does without ridicule or cruelty. His characters get to keep their dignity, maybe even inch toward redemption.

Tenth Of December, his fourth story collection and first in six years, maintains the high standard set by his previous collections, and it’s the most accessible book of his career.

Many of the 10 stories in "Tenth of December" are comfortable with making us uncomfortable. They go for the jugular instead of the funny bone, and they're capable of astounding, unnerving and delighting all at once.

From realism to science fiction, minimalism to medieval-speak, the breadth of voice and aesthetic culminates into an ugly-beautiful freak show. Come one, come 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.

Tenth of December isn't just the author's most unexpected work yet; it's also his best.

Keen readers open to the unusual are drawn to his disturbingly humorous short fiction, which peels away the lies and rationalizations of our self-medicated, corporate-controlled, pop culture-driven society.

Each one of these is as funny and off-kilter and formally ingenious as you want a Saunders story to be, but each one is also something else: unabashedly tender.

The stories in Tenth of December mix crude and sophisticated satire of American life with an essentially warm-hearted, optimistic worldview.