Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tenth of December Review

Tenth of December - George Saunders



I read this book ages and ages ago, and never quite got around to reviewing it, and I was going to just toss it into my end-of-the-year un-reviewed list, but this book is way too good for it to not have its own.

So I really, really, really wanted to give this books a 5, but the thing about short story collections is that some are a hit and some are a miss, and unfortunately, there were some stories that I was less enthused about than others. Not that they were necessarily bad, but that they were lacking in that mph that really makes a short story punch. But of course, not every single story you write can be amazing, though when George Saunders is at his peak, damn.

So, Tenth, for those of you who haven't been paying attention (because its had a fair amount of hype) is his latest collection. I'd previously been aware of his work from a class I took waaaay back as a freshman in college and while I really liked his stories, I wasn't a big short fiction reader at that point and so kind of forgot about him for a while, except that I knew his name and I associated it with something good. So his new book came out and I put a hold on it and four months later I finally got it and I just cannot get enough of George Saunders.

I've heard his work compared to Vonnegut, and that's probably the best way to describe his writing--his stories often utilize the tragicomic and the strange. It's funny and clever, but then also really sad and really dark.You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll go home happy. I really don't know what else to say because it's all just going to sound like gushing.

So, my favorites out if this collection:
"Victory Lap", "Home", "Escape from Spiderhead", and especially, "The Semplica Girl Diaries" and the eponymous  "Tenth of December".

While it's not my favorite of his collections--that would probably be CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, considering he's my favorite living short-story writer, it's all good.

4/5 Fancies.

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