Tenth of December by George Saunders

Posted March 7, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Short Stories / 0 Comments

Tenth of December by George SaundersTitle: Tenth of December (Goodreads)
Author: George Saunders
Published: Bloomsbury, 2013
Pages: 272
Genres: Short Stories
My Copy: ARC from Publisher

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

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.

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