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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Certainly *a* master of the short story...
I have to write here to balance out the inexplicable one- and two-star reviews this brilliant work has so far received on UK Amazon.

Though I would take issue with the publishers' claim that George Saunders is "the undisputed master of the short story" - how can ANYONE be the undisputed ANYTHING? There'll always be dispute! - he is definitely "at the height of...
Published 18 months ago by heidelberg

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Mindscapes
By the strength of the introductory chapter (written by Joel Lovell and strangely disguised as the first story in the collection) which praises Saunders's writing to lofty heights, the reader anticipates with bated breath to be transported into an elevated state of consciousness when he plunges into Saunders's stories.

So it is with a flagging spirit when this...
Published 5 days ago by J. Ang


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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Certainly *a* master of the short story..., 16 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Tenth of December (Kindle Edition)
I have to write here to balance out the inexplicable one- and two-star reviews this brilliant work has so far received on UK Amazon.

Though I would take issue with the publishers' claim that George Saunders is "the undisputed master of the short story" - how can ANYONE be the undisputed ANYTHING? There'll always be dispute! - he is definitely "at the height of his powers" (to use another overused back-of-book phrase) and certainly *a* master of the form.

I laughed out loud at some of the stories in this collection. His dialogue in particular is priceless. People who call these "grim and depressing" ought perhaps to stick to the stories in Take A Break magazine. The humour is dark, but it's not inhumane; in fact a deep humanity runs beneath all these stories.

They are gripping, beautifully structured, original and often hilarious; one of the best collections I've read in the last few years - and I have read many.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satire Light, 15 Jun 2013
By 
Keizu (Helsinki, Finland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tenth of December (Hardcover)
There is nothing frivolous about these stories. But Saunders has a way of forcing you to examine the underbelly of things without making you feel awful. His characters are pathetic, but impossible not to like.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His stories are similar to a dream, it seems that you might do everything and still cannot get out of it, 12 Mar 2014
By 
Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tenth of December (Paperback)
`Tenth of December' written by George Saunders is latest short story collection made by many times awarded and one of the most admired short story writers. Saunders is known by his previously published collections such as `CivilWarLand in Bad Decline', `Pastoralia' and `In Persuasion Nation' that all have received acclaims both from the literary audience and critics.

Reading George Saunders stories is similar to a dream in which you surely have found yourselves at least once; it seems that you might do everything and still cannot get out of it, even though you might be aware that you are not awake, while a sense of discomfort and disturbance do not stop even when you wake up.

In his latest collection the reader will find 10 stories though the first `Victory Lap' and last `Tenth of December' after which the collection was named are the outstanding achievements, true masterpieces in which the lovers of fiction, especially short stories will enjoy.

`Victory Lap' brings a story about a young man whose life and behavior were so programmed by his parents that he doesn't know what to do witnessing a girl next door to him being abducted. But particularly the last story `Tenth of December' in a great way embodies what makes this author so special, while reader is introduced to a terminally ill man who decides to spare his family his own slow and agonizing death of cancer. He will go outside, hoping for a quick death from freezing, but there he will meet the unexpected person, unhappy boy, who will make him reconsider his decision.

With this story Saunders finishes perhaps his best anthology in which author once again puts reader in many moral dilemmas, in which he leads us to the point where it could be expected for us to make some decisions or judgments, still we are still not able to make them.

`Tenth of December' is certainly an essential and recommended reading for any fan of the Saunders earlier works. If, however, you didn't read this great writer before, you will not make a mistake if you begin this experience with `Tenth of December' because after its last page you will definitely want to read his previous stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 21st century Swift, 30 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Tenth of December (Kindle Edition)
A distinctive and very dark voice. The Semplica Diaries is particularly chilling: Jonathan Swift would have been proud of it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mindscapes, 25 July 2014
By 
J. Ang - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Tenth of December (Kindle Edition)
By the strength of the introductory chapter (written by Joel Lovell and strangely disguised as the first story in the collection) which praises Saunders's writing to lofty heights, the reader anticipates with bated breath to be transported into an elevated state of consciousness when he plunges into Saunders's stories.

So it is with a flagging spirit when this reader realises he is out of his depth in the opening pages of the first story "Victory Lap", when true enough, he encounters the "strange new language" of the characters (promised in the introductory chapter) as they mentally convey their inner thoughts in seemingly real-time fashion. It's the kind of narrative that effectively captures the unprocessed, haphazard thoughts that one has in his or her mind, but it makes for difficult reading, and a lot of getting used to. Thankfully, the story picks up speed and in the action that unfolds with violent speed, the motivations of each character becomes clear, and packs a tighter punch.

In the stories that follow, the reader encounters more of these internal mindscapes of characters who are inevitably disengaged from their realities, which are as pyschedelic as their inner desires, giving the stories a surrealistic veneer. Perhaps the most chilling story (in Chuck Palahniuk fashion) in this collection for me is "The Semplica Girl Diaries", which is made up of diary entries of a recognisably working-class middle-aged family man. While the reader may identify with his keeping-up-with-the-joneses concerns, there are a few disturbing details like the concern with what is called an "SG arrangement" on front lawns, and clues that these are not your usual bonsai displays, and the truth is a lot more frightening because of the casual tone the entries take.

In totality, the stories are varied and well-crafted, but they are definitely no walk in the park, and I could not help but wish I did not have to work so hard to unpack the writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual tales, 16 Jan 2014
By 
Amazon Customer (Powys, Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tenth of December (Kindle Edition)
A good collection - some real stand out ones (such as The Semplica Girl Diaries) but some were a bit too odd for my liking. However, good to read something different.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The short story has finally evolved..., 7 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Tenth of December (Kindle Edition)
Each story is crisp, fresh, and mind blowingly original. These are stories to be read and favoured over and over again.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly imaginative, 14 Feb 2013
By 
dellabonna (Peterborough, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tenth of December (Hardcover)
Really enjoyed reading these highly imaginative short stories, put me in mind of the American imaginative fiction I was reading when Vonnegut first came on the scene.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of everyday sadness, 11 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Tenth of December (Hardcover)
Saunders most recent collection has a melancholy muscle that fires each tale with a sadness at the decay and failing in everyday life. The fiction and near science fictions share similar themes and stylistic traits despite covering many different characters and scenarios, from an family struggling to keep up with the jones to an angry returning serviceman and a rule-bound kid, a similar vision of western culture appears, aspiration all yet failing, bombarding yet ever-remote. The tales range from the funny (My Chivalric Fiasco) to the tensely dramatic (The tenth of December) but each drives forward with dialogue or internal monologue revealing the gaps, lapses, failings and forlorn in our world. Essential.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NEW TO ME, 21 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Tenth of December (Hardcover)
I had never heard of this author until I happened to read a review in a newspaper. I really have been missing out - marvellous!
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