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Tenth of December: Stories | [George Saunders]

Tenth of December: Stories

One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet. In the taut opener, "Victory Lap", a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In "Home", a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned.
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Publisher's Summary

One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet.

In the taut opener, "Victory Lap", a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In "Home", a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. A hapless, deluded owner of an antiques store; two mothers struggling to do the right thing; a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush with reality; a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments that force him to lust, to love, to kill - the unforgettable characters that populate the pages of Tenth of December are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders’s signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation.

Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience. These stories take on the big questions and explore the fault lines of our own morality, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what makes us human.

Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December - through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit - not only entertain and delight; they fulfill Chekhov’s dictum that art should "prepare us for tenderness".

©2013 George Saunders (P)2013 Random House Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (597 )
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4.1 (532 )
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Performance
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  •  
    MAUREEN West Orange, NJ, United States 02-08-13
    MAUREEN West Orange, NJ, United States 02-08-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Moving, quirky, intelligent, human stories"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. The stories had interesting forms, moving ideas, and revealed a sensitive portrayal of the ordinary human being.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The quirky style and the heartfelt understanding of people.


    What does George Saunders bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His own accent, his midwestern rhythm of speech, his own portrayal of the characters as he imagined them.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Verity New York USA 01-19-13
    N. Verity New York USA 01-19-13 Member Since 2010

    nickelpic

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    "Maybe Authors Shouldn't Read Their Own Work"

    This may be a great book with great stories but I will never know because I had to turn it off after about 30 minutes. George Saunders may be a great writer but I will bet most listeners will not last the whole book.

    You might think an author reading his own words would lend some magic or special understanding to the work (think Dylan Thomas or Stephen King or Garrison Keillor) but not in this case. He may know just what to emphasize or just where to go quiet, but he is inept as a reader, in my opinion. Saunders reads so fast that whole passages are lost. He reads with such a pronounced lisp that words mash together in a syllabant stew, losing even more meaning. I'm NOT making fun of his speech pattern but it is so annoying to listen to it makes me think he (or the publisher) should have chosen someone with a pleasant voice that conveys the emotion as well as the meaning of the words.

    It's really too bad because this is probably one of those books that works better in print than on audio. The media is touting this as one of the best books of the year but I suggest you get the real book, even an e-book, but skip the audio.

    9 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James toronto, Ontario, Canada 02-11-13
    James toronto, Ontario, Canada 02-11-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Meh..."
    What does George Saunders bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I found the narration to be pretty good. With a few exceptions, I like it when authors read their own material. I think he did a good job with pacing and tone.


    Was Tenth of December worth the listening time?

    To be honest, I wouldn't recommend this book. The first couple of stories are good because they are fresh and new, especially for a first-time Saunders listener. The plots are intriguing and presented in a good way - a key word here, a phrase there - like slowing opening a present by the corners. But it just started getting repetitive. The characters seemed so similar, their situations were different in the details but not that different in the nature of the conflict. The internal conversations of the characters went from interesting and entertaining to repetitive and predictable. A couple of times while I was listening in my car, I found myself talking to the narration saying, "Yes, I get it. Move on!"


    Any additional comments?

    It seems like a lot of people like this book, so who am I to say. I don't usually write reviews, but wanted to give me thoughts, for what they're worth (probably not much).

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A ten year old reader 06-28-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Too much in too little time"

    Serious adult subject matter read as a children's book. This is an example where the author shouldn't have narrated the story.

    Could've been split into three shorter stories. I found it hard to fellow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason 06-26-15
    Jason 06-26-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Incredible"

    George Saunders is a genius.
    A really lovely book.
    Short stories that are long on thought and imagination.
    No else writes like Saunders.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A User 06-11-15
    A User 06-11-15
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    "A brilliant observation of human traits."

    A little scattered at some points but excellent observation of the human condition and what it might become.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey D Hager 04-08-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Phenomenal"

    Hearing the author read was great. I listened twice in a row. Absurd, hilarious, and touching. What more could you ask for?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melody Longmont, CO, United States 02-16-14
    Melody Longmont, CO, United States 02-16-14 Member Since 2015

    Have a renewed interest in books after falling in love with audio books. I am listening to all different genres and exploring different authors.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "First short story is the best"

    I realize that this book received high reviews in 2013. However, in this compilation of short stories, I only really liked the first short story. I wish that first story could have been longer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda 02-15-14
    Amanda 02-15-14
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    "Some writers shouldn't narrate."

    Some of the stories were interesting, but the author just wasn't the right narrator - it felt too rushed and under emphasized in places.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joyce 07-19-13
    joyce 07-19-13
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    "Unique perspective"
    Would you listen to Tenth of December again? Why?

    I don't listen to books twice but this one is like theater.the author seems as good an actor as he is a writer


    What other book might you compare Tenth of December to and why?

    The beauty of this book is that there is no other book that compares to it. Well, Maybe catcher in The rye, huck finn, but this book is just as good! Yes it is that classic, that universal, that inciteful.


    What about George Saunders’s performance did you like?

    .the author seems as good an actor as he is a writer.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    My reaction at first was so horrifyingly anxious that I had to put the book down until I felt i had the strength to deal with the outcome! What power!


    Any additional comments?

    Saunders KNOWS the mind of his characters. He disappears and only they remain. A book like this comes only rarely in a lifetime, in mine anyway. I hope not the author's.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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