Tenth of December (Saunders)

Tenth of December 
George Saunders, 2013
Random House
288 pp.
ISBN-13: 978081298425



Summary
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.

And 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’s 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. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—December 2, 1958
Where—Amarillo, Texas, USA
Raised—suburbs of Chicago, Illinois
Education—B.S., Colorado School of Mines; M.A., Syracuse University
Awards—4 National Magazine Awards; PEN/Malamud Award; World Fantasy Award; Story Prize;
   Folio Prize
Currently—teaches at Syracuse University


George Saunders is an American writer of short stories, essays, novellas and children's books. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, McSweeney's and GQ. He also contributed a weekly column, American Psyche, to the weekend magazine of The Guardian until October 2008.

A professor at Syracuse University, Saunders won the National Magazine Award for fiction in 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2004, and second prize in the O. Henry Awards in 1997. His first story collection, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline (1996), was a finalist for that year's PEN/Hemingway Award. In 2006 Saunders received a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2006 he won the World Fantasy Award for his short story "CommComm". His story collection In Persuasion Nation was a finalist for The Story Prize in 2007. In 2013, he won the PEN/Malamud Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His Tenth of December: Stories (2013) won the 2013 Story Prize for short-story collections and the inaugural (2014) Folio Prize .

Early life
Saunders was born in Amarillo, Texas. He grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago, graduating from Oak Forest High School in Oak Forest, Illinois. In 1981 Saunders received a B.S. in geophysical engineering from Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. In 1988, he obtained an M.A. in creative writing from Syracuse University.

Of his scientific background, Saunders has said,

Any claim I might make to originality in my fiction is really just the result of this odd background: basically, just me working inefficiently, with flawed tools, in a mode I don't have sufficient background to really understand. Like if you put a welder to designing dresses.

Career
From 1989 to 1996, Saunders worked as a technical writer and geophysical engineer for Radian International, an environmental engineering firm in Rochester, New York. He also worked for a time with an oil exploration crew in Sumatra.

Since 1997, Saunders has been on the faculty of Syracuse University, teaching creative writing in the school's MFA program while continuing to publish fiction and nonfiction. In 2006, Saunders was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship. In the same year he was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was a Visiting Writer at Wesleyan University and Hope College in 2010. His nonfiction collection, The Braindead Megaphone, was published in 2007. While promoting The Braindead Megaphone, Saunders appeared on The Colbert Report and the Late Show with David Letterman.[citation needed]

Saunders's fiction often focuses on the absurdity of consumerism, corporate culture and the role of mass media. While many reviewers mention the satirical tone in Saunders's writing, his work also raises moral and philosophical questions. The tragicomic element in his writing has earned Saunders comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut, whose work inspired Saunders.

Saunders is a student of Nyingma Buddhism. (From Wikipedia. Retrieved 10/27/14.)



Book Reviews
National Book Award finalist • a New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year; One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Magazine • NPR • People • Entertainment Weekly • New York • BuzzFeed • Kirkus Reviews • BookPage • Shelf Awareness


A visceral and moving act of storytelling.... No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised.
Michiko Kakutani - New York Times
 

It’s no exaggeration to say that short story master George Saunders helped change the trajectory of American fiction.
Wall Street Journal


Saunders captures the fragmented rhythms, disjointed sensory input, and wildly absurd realities of the twenty-first century experience like no other writer.
Boston Globe


Saunders’s startling, dreamlike stories leave you feeling newly awakened to the world.
People

 
An irresistible mix of humor and humanity...that will make you beam with unmitigated glee.
Entertainment Weekly



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