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.