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3.7 out of 5 stars
75
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 10 September 2017
Best writer I have discovered in the last couple of years. I love his language which is not beautiful but so incisive and often very funny. I love it in the same way I love Philip K Dick, Patrick deWitt and Kurt Vonnegut. Such page-turners but at the same time deeply insightful
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on 7 September 2017
Each story contains more literary brilliance than most authors achieve in whole books. I read the whole thing on December 10th and only noticed the coincidence afterwards.
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on 21 July 2017
Saunders inhabits his own world and what a bizarre,surreal ,savagely funny one it is-full marks from for daring to be different !
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on 31 August 2017
One of my favourite collections -- George Saunders doesn't shy away from the bizzarre.
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on 7 September 2017
A strange mix of compelling and repulsive, and I couldn't find any humour.
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on 16 May 2017
Nothing more to say than sheer brilliance. Thank you GS!
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on 25 July 2014
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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on 28 July 2014
I'm not sure what all the fuss is about with this author - there are some interesting quirky ideas but on the whole I would describe the writing as pretentious.
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on 15 March 2017
In light of Saunders' recent success in publishing his first full novel, this review looks back to one of his most insightful collections of short stories: Tenth of December.

In this oddly disjointed, surreal collection, the underlying issues in modern American culture are loudly explored. An exhilarating read, Saunders' breathless writing style floods over terrible realities and hard truths, leaving the reader gasping in its wake.

Tenth of December handles its running themes in a poignant, individual and certainly irreverent way. Narcissistic ideas of charity stem from trivial competition, while sheer denial is shown in the face of true poverty. Generations breed generations, passing on corrupted ideals and traumatic examples. Paedophilia, racism, poverty: nothing is safe from these chastising, powerful stories.

Saunders leaves an expunged, brutally telling view of the American dream. In his futuristic imaginings, he exaggerates the failings of Western consumerism, yet ultimately his message is clear: When one tries to have it all, all they will ever have is nothing.
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on 15 June 2013
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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