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Tenth of December Audiobook

Tenth of December: Stories

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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

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  •  
    Ashley United States 03-11-13
    Ashley United States 03-11-13
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    "Author's Voice... in the Author's Voice"
    What made the experience of listening to Tenth of December the most enjoyable?

    Hearing a story as the author hears it in his own head is a rare treat. Saunders brings life to each of his characters on the page, but he talks the talk, too, with subtle and delicate differences among narrative voices as well as character dialogue-- both internal and in speech.


    Which character – as performed by George Saunders – was your favorite?

    The breadth of characters in the very first story immediately engages the reader in the collections masterful acts of compassion and interpretation. This story makes room for dramatic differences in situation and inner landscape, uniting a naively optimistic young girl of beauty and privilege, an awkward and parentally- oppressed young guy, and a sometimes- self-aware would-be rapist, with voices raw and relatable and palpable dramatic tension. Saunders's characters manage to be understandable and condemnable by turns, and they flesh out real situations of humiliation and triumph that are deeply human and artfully rendered.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The first and last stories bookend the collection perfectly, framing the themes of intervention and self-actualization that define each of the stories individually and the collection at large.


    Any additional comments?

    Saunders is as good a reader as he is a writer. The quality of the stories as well as the performance make this listen a real treat.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tawney Dash Point, WA, United States 03-05-13
    Tawney Dash Point, WA, United States 03-05-13 Member Since 2013
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    "All the Things I've Heard About This Book Are True"

    Astonishing. Utterly compelling. I usually don't like to read short stories, but because of the reviews I just had to pick this one up. I'm going to buy the hard copy and probably listen to it again off and on for years...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ursula HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC, United States 02-25-13
    ursula HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC, United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2017
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    "Better in tangible book form, but that is me"
    If you could sum up Tenth of December in three words, what would they be?

    As I said in my headline, I wish I rather had the book in hand. The author uses many current colloquialisms with which I'm not familiar (that shows my age!) and I would have liked to see them. The stories are good: bizarre, contemporary 'problems', esp. of parenting; that I liked.


    Did George Saunders do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    I was not always sure who was talking


    Any additional comments?

    What I said above, applies to this book. Otherwise I am an avid audible.com listener.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda J. Westerschulte 02-14-13
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    "Best book you'll read this year -NY Times Magazine"

    I thought it was a little over the top for the New York Times to make that claim in the first half of January 2013, but having read Tenth of December I'm inclined to agree (even though it is still only February). I don't usually care for short stories because I like the slow reveal and the long involvement of a novel, but this collection is extraordinary. Saunders captures unique narrator voices that spring these unexpected characters to life in just the few pages allowed them. Pithy, relevant, economical, dark, and in the end fiercely hopeful. I won't say anything more. These stories are short and part of their glory is their punch, undiluted by even the faintest spoiler. Just do it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    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).

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
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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
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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

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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.

    10 of 15 people found this review helpful
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    Judith Myers 06-19-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Gets you thinking! You're out of your comfort zone"
    If you could sum up Tenth of December in three words, what would they be?

    Fascinating, weird, challenging.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tenth of December?

    The last story, inside a person who realized that his suicide attempt was the wrong action and what he was going to miss.


    Any additional comments?

    It's been a few weeks since I listened to this on a cross country trip. Will listen to it again as there was a lot of detail that I slept through (I sleep when I'm not the driver). 10th of December really gets you thinking, thinking deeper. The author did a great job reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    MNtea 05-21-17
    MNtea 05-21-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Outstanding"

    I enjoyed the writing, the quirky sense of humor, the characters, and the intelligent moving stories. Saunders reads his own work perfectly. Thank you, George Saunders, for Tenth of December. I'll be reading (or listening) to your other work now too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    D. R. 05-11-17
    D. R. 05-11-17
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    "Explanation is needed"

    There needs to be a foreword about the nature of the "book". A clearer distinction between the different stories would be great too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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