Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tenth of December: Stories; George Saunders

Author: George Saunders
Publication Year:  2013
Publisher: Random House and Books on Tape
Edition: eGalley/audio

Reader:  author read (well done)
Source: NetGalley and library (audio)

Date Completed: July - 2013
Rating: 3.5/5

I don't read a lot of short stories, but I wanted to try this collection as I heard this author was a bit different and worth trying.

There are 10 stories in Tenth of December; some of the stories are very very short, in fact, a few really didn't seem like a story at all.  Other stories are longer, and some had a surreal feel to them.  Most every story has to do with human nature and social mores. Many are written in such a way that made me flinch a bit at what I had just read.  Although some of the stories are satirical in nature, others packed a punch -- sad or ugly, but definitely powerful. Most of the characters were down on their luck or in a crisis situation, others were just pathetic. A welcomed relief to all the darkness was the dark humor and irony, which I enjoyed. It actually provided some much needed relief from the darker moments,

My favorite story was actually the last story and title story "Tenth of December". It is a story about a dying man contemplating suicide. He wanders into the woods prepared to end his life, when an incident with a young boy makes him rethink his situation.  "Puppy" was a story that really bothered me - it is about (2) women who meet by chance and yes, there is a puppy involved - I'll just say that this story left me feeling very sad.  "Victory" is another story  where a woman is being attacked and kidnapped, but the neighbor boy is torn whether to do something or not. In his head, he hears his strict father's voice telling him that what is happening is "none of his business".

Now two weeks after I finished this collection, I must admit that some of Saunder's stories left me as soon as I finished reading it, but a few, like the ones above, stuck.  This is definitely not a collection that will appeal to everyone, but George Saunders is a very good writer, it is just for the most part, most of the were too dark for me. Try it and decide.

15 comments:

  1. Hmmm, I'm never a fan of short stories, don't know why really, but your review makes me think I might try again.

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  2. I think I liked this collection a little more than you did but agree that it is dark.

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  3. Hmmmmmm, short sounds good in this instance!

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  4. It sounds like it might be a little too sad for me. I'm not all that fond of short stories though. I like something I can get really get into.

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  5. This collection sounds dark but worth reading. Thanks for your honest review, Diane.

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  6. I'm not a big fan of short stories either, and despite everyone raving about how amazing Saunders is, I haven't been blown away by his short fiction in The New Yorker.

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  7. I enjoyed the review, thanks Diane.

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  8. I'm not really big on short stores, but this sounds like a good read.

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  9. I've read some of his stories in The New Yorker, but haven't picked up any of his books. The Tenth of December story stuck with me, though. Another story I remember seemed to be about hiring and displaying poor immigrants as decorations or status symbols in your yard or for parties. That one was very strange!

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  10. I'm not a short story reader either and I admist I read for escapism mostly. These sound kind of depressing. I'm glad some of them are haunting you. It's nice when you think about the stories afterward.

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  11. It's always good to try something new. I don't mind dark stories every now and again. I have not read a short story collections in ages!!

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  12. Saunders teaches at a nearby university and is somewhat of a local celebrity. I've been on the library hold list for this collection all year...

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  13. I think this is a collection I would enjoy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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  14. I am not a short story girl, but this one tempts me. The dark nature with the shortness appeals to me right now!

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  15. I like short stories and dark is ok too. I might like this one.

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