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
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.” Download and start listening now!