Blurb (as on Goodreads):
A new story collection, the first in six years, from one of our greatest living writers, MacArthur “genius grant” recipient and New Yorker contributor George Saunders.
George Saunders, one of our most important writers, is back with a masterful, deeply felt collection that takes his literary powers to a new level. In a recent interview, when asked how he saw the role of the writer, Saunders said: “To me, the writer’s main job is to make the story unscroll in such a way that the reader is snared-she’s right there, seeing things happen and caring about them. And if you dedicate yourself to this job, the meanings more or less take care of themselves.” In Tenth of December, the reader is always right there, and the meanings are beautiful and profound and abundant. The title story is an exquisite, moving account of the intersection, at a frozen lake in the woods, of a young misfit and a middle-aged cancer patient who goes there to commit suicide, only to end up saving the boy’s life. “Home” is the often funny, often poignant account of a soldier returning from the war. And “Victory Lap” is a taut, inventive story about the attempted abduction of a teenage girl. In all, Tenth of December is George Saunders at his absolute best, a collection of stories and characters that add up to something deep, irreducible, and uniquely American.
WINNER OF THE 2014 FOLIO PRIZE AND SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2013
My first book by Saunders and I loved his writing style. It’s conversational and casual yet powerful. ‘Tenth of December’ is a collection of stories where the author explores a lot of social themes such as drug testing, abuse, degradation of relationships, reminiscing about happy days etc.
Each story is distinct. I don’t mean just the plot, but the writing, the characters, the atmosphere, and the overall impact. While a few stories took time to make sense, most were quite interesting. The stories are funny, dark or emotional, sometimes all at once.
The author has experimented a lot with the writing style, and that turned out to be one of the reasons the stories kept me hooked. The reading didn’t feel monotonous and at any given point, things didn’t feel out of place (in most cases).
The book has been named after the last story ‘Tenth of December’ in which on a chilly December day a man decides to walk away from his family, as he is ow a burden to them. But then life happens and he has yet another adventure waiting for him.
A few reviews talk about how this book is about American Life. Well, I don’t know about the Americal part, but this book is definitely a glimpse of the different aspect of life. I wasn’t expecting anything from this book when I dived into it, I just had faith and this book truly surprised me by its easy-going yet eloquent. All those talks about Saunders being a literary genius is quite true, you know. And this particular edition has an introduction to Saunders, and I can relate his personality to the stories he writes and it feels like a closure. I am definitely reading everything by George Saunders.
If I had to recommend one story that is a must-read from this collection, it would be The Semplica Girl Diaries. The story talks volumes through many simple diary entries by the protagonist. A close, second favorite would be Victory Lap- very unique, very emotional and very real.
‘Tenth of December’ is Saunders take on everyday life in an unpretentious and surreal manner.