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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (5,724 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: George Saunders Narrator: George Saunders Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Tenth of December: Stories, 2013, is a collection of short stories by George Saunders.

In the opening story, Victory Lap, a young boy bears witness to an abduction of his next door neighbor. His harrowing choice? Ignore what he sees, or overcome years of advice from his parents and act.

In Home, a combat veteran moves back home with his mother, struggling to reconcile two very different realities.

In the title tale Tenth of December, a cancer patient wanders to the woods to end his life, only to find a troubled youth who just might give the him a second chance to remember and regain himself.

The unforgettable characters, beyond just these, who live in the pages of this short story collection are imbibed with color and with empathy. As always, the signature prose of Saunder's blends innovation with a deep touch of humanity.

George Saunders was born in 1958 in Texas. Raised in the suburbs of Chicago, he received his undergraduate degree in geophysical engineering. He later obtained an M.A. in creative writing from Syracuse University. He worked as both technical writer and geophysical engineer for Radian International, an environmental engineering firm, and for a time with an oil exploration crew in Sumatra. In 1997 he began teaching creative writing with the Syracuse MFA program, all while publishing critically acclaimed fiction and nonfiction. He has received the MacArthur and the Guggenheim Fellowship and has been published in Harper's, The New Yorker, McSweeney's and GQ. With a tragicomic element to his writing, he often focuses on the absurdity of consumer and corporate culture as well as mass media.

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. 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’ 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.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A feat of inventiveness…This eclectic collection never ceases to delight with its at times absurd, surreal, and darkly humorous look at very serious subjects…George Saunders makes you feel as though you are reading fiction for the first time.”

    Khaled Hosseini, New York Times bestselling author

  • “You want funny? Saunders is your man. You want emotional heft? Saunders again. You want stories that are actually about something—stories that again and again get to the meat of matters of life and death and justice and country? Saunders. There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity.”

    Dave Eggers, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Saunders is a true original—restlessly inventive, yet deeply humane.”

    Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

  • “An irresistible mix of humor and humanity…that will make you beam with unmitigated glee.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Saunders’ startling, dreamlike stories leave you feeling newly awakened to the world.”


  • “The best short-story writer in English—not ‘one of,’ not ‘arguably,’ but the Best.”


  • “No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised…Although sentiment has always lurked beneath the antic, corrugated surface of Mr. Saunders’ work, there is a new sympathy for his characters in these pages, an emphasis on how bad luck, poor judgment, lack of resources and family misfortune can snowball into violence or catastrophe.”

    New York Times

  • “George Saunders captures the fragmented rhythms, disjointed sensory input, and wildly absurd realities of the 21st century experience like no other writer.”

    Boston Globe

  • “It’s no exaggeration to say that short story master George Saunders helped change the trajectory of American fiction.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Eventually, a suspicion creeps in that, behind Saunders’ comic talents, he might be the most compassionate writer working today.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Selected for the January 2013 Indie Next List
  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title” in January 2013
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A 2013 New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A #1 Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • Finalist for the 2013 Story Prize for Short Fiction
  • A Huffington Post Best Book of 2013
  • A 2013 People Magazine Best Book
  • A 2013 NPR Best Book
  • A 2013 Entertainment Weekly Best Book
  • A 2013 BookPage Best Book
  • A 2013 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 2013 Chicago Tribune Book of the Year
  • A 2013 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
  • A 2013 Time Magazine Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2014 Indies Choice Book Award Honoree for Adult Fiction
  • A 2013 National Book Award Finalist
  • A 2013 Salon Magazine Best Book

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Ida Hagman | 2/18/2014

    " Outstanding, brilliant, compassionate, Truly great short stories. Saunders ranks with Morrison, Faulkner, Joyce and other great modern writers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jon | 2/17/2014

    " Very good, but I do like both PASTORALIA and CIVILWARLAND more than this collection. It's good to see him being lauded, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Cher | 2/11/2014

    " In the past six months George Saunders has been spotlighted throughout the literary world as the great American writer of our times, so I started short story collection Tenth of December with eager anticipation. These stories are very clever, well-written, and filled with anxiety, dark humor, longing and a overwhelming dissatisfaction with contemporary life. Many of the characters seem to be flailing, sinking, drowning in everyday life and can't see their way clear to safety, financial or physical. The stories "Victory" and "Escape from Spiderhead" in particular were very moving and engaging and honestly caused me actual anxiety. That said, I can't say I enjoyed the reading overall. I held off writing a review because sometimes story collections require reflection, but I read two other collections around the same time and appreciated them and connected in particular with Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell so much more. While the authors address similar concepts of longing, dissatisfaction and anxiety, Ms. Russell's writing opened a door for me to connect with the characters while Mr. Saunders' writing kept me at arm's length. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Daniel Virtue | 2/2/2014

    " Probably my least favorite short story collection by Saunders. I normally cherish his collections, rereading them, and thinking of them offen; however, this one his writing imitated his characters and was distracting(he normally does this to a degree, but in this collection it was taken to an extreme). I believe you do not have to write like your uneducated characters to show effective characterization. The themes were similar to his other work, but they did not resonate with me to the same degree. I still really enjoyed the book, and it if you love Saunders do not hesitate to pick it up. I found two of the short stories amazing. I hope the other ones grows on me. "

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