“A superb collection of offbeat short stories. Saunders' deep faith in humanity moves me alternately to laughter and to tears. ”Mrbwaters wrote this review Thursday, October 31, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Review of Tenth of December by George Saunders
26 October 02013
Wow, another fine artist of the short story. Another, that is, after Ron Rash and his
Nothing Gold Can Stay collection, which our book group also read.
Saunders lets his readers inside the thoughts of the characters. He sets aside the
normal rules of punctuation, so much so that a writing teacher would give him bad marks, which is ironic given Saunders is himself a teacher of writing at Syracuse.
Yes, but it does seem, upon reflection, that I wasn’t reading about characters, but thinking their thoughts. One of the disturbing things is that these crazy characters begin to reason in ways that seem normal, at times anyway. And them I’m thinking, hey, they aren’t so crazy, or maybe--and this is more disturbing--perhaps I’m not that far from crazy myself.
And the theme of poverty and the desperation of it gave me an understanding of the common term, “grinding poverty,” how it grinds away at you--your self worth, your energy and health, your self-esteem, in a world that places just so much importance on wealth.
His story Escape from Spiderhead felt so much like Clockwork Orange. I love the
story, especially for the unexpected ending. Even under the most degrading
conditions--the fake manipulation of human feelings, drug induced and not, to do the worst things--the dystopian theme, and yet, even in this, even among people who should not be heroic, a hero can emerge.
And Sticks, a story of one page. Wow. Reminds me of Hemingway’s novel in six
words, although not done as a stunt.
Bravo George Saunders! I’m glad you’re with us, glad you’re making this art of
yours. And you read it yourself in the audiobook? Wow, nice job. Against the odds, too.
I do feel as though I know you a bit after listening to you for a few hours, and
look forward to shaking your hand at the cocktail party when you receive your medal from the National Book Awards, and bag of goodies from Levenger.”
“I know of no other author writing today who has the ability like Saunders does of eerily-efficient, limited-omniscient narration. Within a few lines of many of these stories, I felt drawn into the vortex of the what-ness of who's who-ness.
Of course, I thought some stories stronger than others. My favorites included these: "Puppy," "Exhortation," "Al Roosten," "Home," and the title story, "Tenth of December." These are stories to be studied in graduate seminars or on train rides or late at night.
You are reading here, now, what will be for me the first of many more readings of Saunders' books. This is exciting for me--find a new author--I was last this excited when I first started reading James Salter...and before that, Paul Auster....”
“George Saunders brilliantly combines strange, unconventional settings (futuristic even) with basic human emotion. He takes on political and social issues extremely incognito by exaggerating them, making them seem like science fiction at times. If you rinse and repeat, what is left is the issue uncovered...The Eureka effect for the reader! Your Aha moment! ”Anabela Lopes wrote this review Thursday, October 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Too Dark! Did not finish.”Jim S wrote this review Thursday, October 17, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Spectacular. These characters are inspired and profoundly familiar. The language and syntax seem to be created anew from the mind of each of these very real people, and we follow them willingly into some quite strange territory. Through such surreal landscapes as that of the story 'The Semplica Girl Diaries' Saunders shows us the inner dialogue that makes such strangeness real.
This writing is stellar.”
“Lacks the charm of Pastoralia. Here, I felt the strongest stories were those set in known reality; my favorites were "Victory Lap" and "Sticks." "The Semplica Girl Diaries" is referred to as the collection's masterpiece but was my least favorite.”Jessica M wrote this review Wednesday, October 2, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Dude . . . just, don't even ask.”Mr. Adams, Esq. wrote this review Tuesday, October 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The author has received great praise for this book of short stories. This was the first time I had read his work and I will certainly be looking for more books of his to read. I think what most caught my attention was the emotional feeling that is written into his stories. He seemed to care about his characters and this comes through in all the stories even though they are very diverse.”Alice B. wrote this review Tuesday, September 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I was looking forward to reading this book after hearing an interview with the author on one of the late night talk shows. I clearly didn't get it. I felt like I should have been on drugs while reading it, as it was very bizarre. The prose was difficult for me to follow. Some of the stories were OK, but as a whole, not for me. ”Rose M wrote this review Saturday, September 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No