The Semplica Girl Diaries | Recommended by Nathan Tavares

“The Semplica Girl Diaries.” This is such a tightrope walk of grim humor and sadness. The story also contains one of the weirdest (and weirdly moving) examples of “people as commodities” that you can think of. 

“The Semplica Girl Diaries” can be found in The New Yorker. Also found in his short story collection, Tenth of December, published by Random House.

Nathan Tavares writes fiction, sometimes about benevolent frauds, young immortals, and the terrible and/or wonderful things people do for/to each other. His writing has appeared in PANK, Necessary Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, and elsewhere. You can find more of his work at

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Politics and Prose Review Pick of the Week | Rae Bryant’s Review of George Saunders’ TENTH OF DECEMBER

Chosen as an exemplary work in critical review by The Washington Independent Review of Books and Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington D.C., our editor in chief, Rae Bryant and her review of George Saunders’ recently released collection, Tenth of December (Random House), will be promoted at Politics & Prose Bookstore, both their brick and mortar location and website. Congratulations to our editor in chief for her exemplary critical work and recognition, and thank you to The Independent and P&P for their recognition.

George Saunders is an undisputed genius in cutting eloquent slices of dark, odd, familiar, and too familiar. And here he goes again with more breadth than most writers would attempt in one collection. Humor and satire infuse dysfunctional families, dysfunctional sex, unsuspected heroism, realism and near-future settings. Be warned. The afternoon is lost, because once picked up, Tenth of December sticks. From realism to SF, minimalism to medieval-speak, the book yields an ugly-beautiful freak show. Come one, come all. Full review  originally published at The Independent


Rae Bryant in Sun--BW--small IIRae Bryant’s short story collection, The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals, was released by Patasola Press in June 2011. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including StoryQuarterly, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, BLIP Magazine, Gargoyle Magazine, and Redivider, and have been nominated for the PEN/Hemingway, PEN Emerging Writers, and Pushcart Awards. She is also a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. Read more at


The Washington Independent Review of Books | TENTH OF DECEMBER by George Saunders


George Saunders is an undisputed genius in cutting eloquent slices of dark, odd, familiar and too familiar.  He is unapologetic about it. Imagine a Civil War general with bayonet, slicing the family turkey on Thanksgiving. Tossing out chunks of meat, a liver, a kidney. Saunders gnawing on the gizzard, laughing and spitting chunks of flesh at everyone. And everyone liking it. This is Saunders.  And here he goes again with more breadth than most writers would attempt in one collection.

In Tenth of December, humor and satire infuse dysfunctional families, dysfunctional sex, unsuspected heroism, realism and near future settings in 10 short stories from short-short length to full length.  With laughter, frequent shudders and always an accessible rigor that fellow writers have come to love and expect in Saunders’ work, this collection — mostly realism — does not disappoint.  For the most part.

The collection recently enjoyed a New York Times love festdiscussing Saunders’ views of Syracuse, D. F. Wallace and a fateful plane ride.  It is easy to fall in love with Saunders, both his work and his personae, as portrayed in the article. Despite the Times’ suggestion, however, the stories are not equally matched…. Read the full review at The Washington Independent Review of Books.