Tenth of December

Tenth of December

3.97 (50,221 ratings by Goodreads)
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From the undisputed master of the short story, George Saunders, comes a dazzling and disturbing new collection. His most wryly hilarious work to date, Tenth of December illuminates human experience and explores figures lost in a labyrinth of troubling preoccupations.

A family member recollects a backyard pole dressed for all occasions; Divisional Director Todd Birnie sends round a memo to employees he thinks need some inspiration; Jeff faces horrifying ultimatums and the prospect of Darkenfloxx (TM) in some unusual drug trials; and in an auction of local celebrities Al Roosten hides his own internal monologue behind a winning smile that he hopes will make him popular. Although, as a young boy discovers, sometimes the voices fade and all you are left with is a frozen hill on a cold day in December...

With dark visions of the future riffing against ghosts of the past and the ever-settling present, Tenth of December sings with astonishing charm and intensity, and re-affirms Saunders as one of our greatest living storytellers.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 31mm | 407g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 140883734X
  • 9781408837344
  • 78,940

Review quote

A joyous, mad, brilliant, laugh-out-loud box of tricks from one of America's most daring writers. Delicious, delicious, delicious. I could read Saunders forever * Liz Jensen * Not since Twain has America produced a satirist this funny with a prose style this fine. Saunders is a morally passionate, serious writer, who perfectly expresses the madness of the times we live in. He will be read long after these times have passed * Zadie Smith * Again and again, Saunders demonstrates that wacky, subversive, formally strange writing is not only not contrary to our nation's capitalist spirit, it's the most natural and effective of responses to it. He makes the all-but-impossible look effortless. We're lucky to have him * Jonathan Franzen * Saunders reads like Barthelme or Coover, and can be funnier than either -- Hari Kunzru, Books of the Year * Guardian * Surreal and puncturing -- Margaret Atwood Saunders, as an American social and literary critic, may be shaping up as the Orwell of the millennium * The Times * An astoundingly tuned voice - graceful, dark, authentic, and funny * Thomas Pynchon * A multifaceted writer, very easy on the surface to pin down but incredibly difficult once you actually read him with any depth -- Joshua Ferris Saunders is a writer of arresting brilliance and originality, with a sure sense of his material and apparently inexhaustible resources of voice ... Scary, hilarious and unforgettable * Tobias Wolff * Like the illegitimate offspring of Nathanael West and Kurt Vonnegut ... Mr. Saunders's satiric vision of America is dark and demented; it is also ferocious and very funny -- Michiko Kakutani * The New York Times * Reading George Saunders is, it's safe to say, like no other literary experience. His satirical short stories are set in a kind of Lewis Carroll version of our world, only far, far darker ... surreal, rather moving and deeply angry * Observer * Both droll and acerbic, his tales cleverly blend slapstick with Orwellian alarm at a society unwilling to safeguard a common morality or independence of thought from the rapacity of an arrogant, aggressive, capitalist ethic * Daily Telegraph * Riotously imaginative ... There's something so wildly magnanimous about these stories that you want to hit yourself for not thinking this creatively yourself and force them on everyone you meet for the good of mankind .. .Saunders has Kurt Vonnegut's gift of combining antique, high-flown ideas with a strong empathy. Even better, he does not have the sci-fi self-consciousness of Vonnegut * Daily Telegraph * Dazzingly surreal stories about a failing America * Sunday Times Must Reads * Masterpieces of surrealist satire * Vanity Fair * Gripping ... Saunders takes a wry and uncompromising look at life in contemporary America, from everyday occurrences to the downright cruel and mind-boggling, providing quirky voices to bring his authentic stories to life. A strong collection from a master of the short story, it's not one to be missed * Irish Examiner * His sharp satire and visions of a dystopian future are tempered with warmth and humanity ... Somehow, Saunders forces the reader to consider our dysfunctional world without ever preaching. Every page is packed with laughs; astute observations with deep implications are never far away either ... This is a brilliant, trenchant and hilarious collection * Independent * His nuanced explorations of character are achieved with an impressively light touch -- Luke Neima * Times Literary Supplement * These are stories of integrity and authenticity, often wildly inventive. The raw nerve endings of these blue-collar tragedies are insulated by playfulness, humour and heart -- Martin Fletcher * Independent * The stories are self-contained and I get a feel for the characters quickly. Each is like a little novel in its own right -- James Patterson * Daily Mail * What Saunders does is invent an alternative America - which is, in fact completely today's America -- David Sedaris * Vogue * For more than a decade, George Saunders has been the best short story writer in English - not `one of', not `arguably', but the Best ... George's work is a stiff tonic for the vapid agony of contemporary living - great art from the greatest guy * Time Magazine * Mad, hilarious and downright terrifying ... A hilarious, twisted treat * Shortlist * Awesome -- Maggie Gyllenhaal * People * Relentless humor and beatific generosity of spirit keep his highly moral tales from succumbing to life's darker aspects -- Notable Books of 2013 * International New York Times * Stories with heft and heart told in a style that is genuinely daring ... Saunders rewrites smallness into greatness -- Book of the Year, Paul Lynch * Irish Times * A jaw-droppingly good selection of short stories from America's master storyteller -- Books of the Year, Patricia Nicol * Metro * Masterful -- Gaby Wood, Books of the Year * Daily Telegraph * A riotously imaginative collection of short stories, from one of the few living masters of the genre * Daily Telegraph * A collection of short stories unlike any I have read before. It won the inaugural Folio Prize, and deservedly so -- Sebastian Faulks * Mail on Sunday *
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About George Saunders

At one point a geophysical engineer, MacArthur Fellowship winner George Saunders is an acclaimed writer of short stories, essays, novellas and children's books. His work includes the story collections CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, a finalist for the 2006 PEN/Hemingway Award, Pastoralia and In Persuasion Nation, one of only three finalists for The Story Prize in 2006. He has also won prizes for his bestselling children's book The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, has written a book of essays entitled The Brain-Dead Megaphone and his most recent collection, Tenth of December, is a New York Times bestseller. He currently teaches Creative Writing at Syracuse University, New York, and writes regularly for GQ, Harper's and The New Yorker, who in 2002 named him one of the 'Best Writers Under 40'. He lives in New York with his family.
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Rating details

50,221 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 37% (18,376)
4 36% (18,166)
3 18% (8,940)
2 7% (3,284)
1 3% (1,455)
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