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Tenth of December Paperback – 2 Jan 2014

3.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (2 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408837366
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408837368
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The best book you'll read this year (New York Times)

Dazzlingly surreal stories about a failing America (Must Reads Sunday Times)

The best short story writer in English - not "one of", not "arguably", but the Best (Time Magazine)

Riotously imaginative ... From one of the few living masters of the genre (Books of the Year Daily Telegraph)

If you're a fan of dark, disturbing and satirical, George Saunders is your ideal travel companion (Summer Reads Daily Mail)

Funny, poignant - in flashes, deeply moving - light as a feather and consistently weird (Hari Kunzru Guardian)

Book Description

The no.3 New York Times bestseller. George Saunders's most dazzling short story collection yet

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this after reading George Saunders' short essays each week in the Guardian Weekend magazine and thought that getting hold of a book full of delights would be just as enjoyable. The glowing introduction really got me pumped up and ready. Unfortunately I was wrong. I had next to no clue what was going on for the 50 or so pages I struggled through this book before giving up and taking it to the charity shop.

I think one of the previous reviewers got it right when he/she highlighted the fact that the amount of colloquialisms and nuances contained within were a problem. There were too many on each page and that made the already stuttering style of prose constantly grind to a halt before I had to look something up or try and decipher some French!

I felt annoyed not being able to persevere further with this but I don't think it was going anywhere for me and reading is supposed to be enjoyable and I just wasn't enjoying this at all. I think my pursuit of Mr Saunders' writing began and ended with that Guardian column which was more free flowing while this book seemed a bit forced and too clever for its own good. Oh well.
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