Tenth of December (George Saunders)

Article by Danielle

Just by looking at the cover of his latest collection, you can tell that Saunders has been moving in a darker, more serious direction with his work as of late. Although most of the stories in this collection are as funny as anything he’s written, Saunders often uses humor to hypothetically advance an existing social problem to its horrific logical conclusion. My favorite stories in TENTH OF DECEMBER - "Victory Lap", "Escape From Spiderhead", and "Home" - deal with kidnapping, our society’s overuse of pharmaceuticals, and PTSD, respectively. Saunders twists each of these issues, subtly exaggerating elements of each problem to clarify its menace. One of the most interesting things about Saunders is that his stories are rarely concerned with the privileged, the well-spoken, or the powerful. His characters are, at best, members of the middle class who are quickly falling through the growing cracks in America’s safety net. They are often uneducated, or at least uninformed. They are often being controlled and manipulated by forces far more powerful than themselves - parents, corporations, evil scientists - who are deeply invested in appearing to be their underlings’ 'friends' while leading them to certain ruin. This kind of setup has deep resonance in contemporary America, to say the least. It's hard not to sometimes relate to Saunders' hapless protagonists. In short, I wasn't surprised to find myself giggling over this beautiful collection, but I was surprised - and pleased - to find myself moved to tears several times.

Tenth of December: Stories By George Saunders Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812993806
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Random House - January 8th, 2013

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