The Tenth of December

Cover story in The New York Times Magazine

PBS Newshour

George Saunders — the beloved cult author known for surreal short stories about American nuttiness — is the master of joy bombs: little explosions of grin-stimulating genius that he buries throughout his deeply thoughtful, endlessly entertaining flights of imagination. His fourth story collection, Tenth of December, brims with laboriously constructed nuggets that will make you beam with unmitigated glee. . . . an irresistible mix of humor and humanity.”—Entertainment Weekly, grade A review

NPR/Weekend Edition Saturday interview with Jackie Lydon

“A book for everyone from serious students of the American short story to those folks just looking for a good read. . . . Saunders is one of the most gifted and seriously successful comic short story writers working in America today. . . . George Saunders is the real thing, the successor to such dark comedians of ordinary speech as Donald Barthelme and Grace Paley. He's a Vonnegutian in his soul and, paradoxically, a writer like no one but himself.”—Alan Cheuse, NPR All Things Considered

“It's no exaggeration to say that short story master George Saunders helped change the trajectory of American fiction. . . . Saunders's characters cling to hope as tenaciously as ever in his new collection,  set in a kind of Dark Ages middle America defined by Darwinian class striving, simulated bread-and-circus distractions (Mr. Saunders is fascinated by amusement parks and reality television) and the substitution of bureaucracy for ethics.”—Wall Street Journal

“Saunders' highly original stories burst with life and characters, showing us the fullness of the soul.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune  

Chicago Tribune interview with Saunders 

“If storytelling is a form of kinship network, binding readers together in a shared experience, then Saunders is as much an ‘earth mover’ as the best engineer.”—Financial Times 

“You could take every class offered in the Oberlin liberal arts catalogue and still not get as close as Saunders does in these pages to understanding the connections among sexism, racism, post-colonialism, late-stage capitalism and white middle-class anxiety. (And you certainly wouldn’t find yourself laughing uproariously at it all.). . . . Each one of these is as funny and off-kilter and formally ingenious as you want a Saunders story to be, but each one is also something else: unabashedly tender.”—Washington Post

“George Saunders captures the fragmented rhythms, disjointed sensory input, and wildly absurd realities of the 21st century experience like no other writer.”—Boston Globe

“It's tough to think of a living short-story writer - or even a dead one - who garners as much peer approval as George Saunders. Alice Munro, maybe, but that's about it. . . . It’s Saunders whose name is both whispered in reverent tones and shouted from the rooftops by other authors. His sparkling new story collection Tenth of December demonstrates why. . . . Throughout this collection, Saunders uses humor to amplify tension rather than avoid it, and the results are superb. Many of the 10 stories are comfortable with making us uncomfortable. They go for the jugular instead of the funny bone, and they're capable of astounding, unnerving and delighting all at once. The prose is so smartly crafted throughout that it makes me want to go back and re-evaluate all of Saunders' previous books. But first I plan to re-reread this new collection one more time.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised, those Americans who struggle to pay the bills, make the rent, hold onto a job they might detest — folks who find their dreams slipping from their grasp as they frantically tread water, trying to keep from drowning. . . . What injects such schematic moral dramas with real vitality is the energy of Mr. Saunders’s kinetic prose and his ability to depict his characters from both the outside (with plenty of satirical snarl) and the inside (with some genuine feeling). . . . . Regarding the stunning title story in this volume, which itself makes this book worth reading, it’s a deeply affecting tale about the collision of two lives. . . . It’s a measure of Mr. Saunders’s talents as a writer — his brassy language, his narrative instincts, his bone-deep understanding of his characters — that he takes what might have been a contrived and sentimental parable and turns it into a visceral and moving act of storytelling.”—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times                 

“George Saunders Lives Up To The Hype. . . Tenth of December probably will turn out to be one of the best new books I read in 2013 because Saunders is, indeed, something special. . . . Saunders' short stories have it all — the flexibility of language, the social criticism, the moral ambition, the entertaining dark humor. Check back with me at the end of 2013; if his collection isn't in this year's top 10, it will really have been an extraordinary year for books.”—Maureen Corrigan, NPR, Fresh Air

“Saunders is one of the most audacious and inventive voices in American literature.”—Austin American Statesman 

“George Saunders is a writer of staggering tools.”—Dallas Morning News

“[The Tenth of December] is A brilliant book from a brilliant author.”—Daily Nebraskan


Interviews

Watch George on The Colbert Report

BOMBlog: In this multi-part web-exclusive interview for BOMBlog, George Saunders and Patrick Dacey discuss the writing process, storytelling technique (“Any monkey in a story had better be a dead monkey”), and how the mind is like the trash compactor from Star Wars.

Morning Joe interview

Believer Magazine: Ben Marcus interviews George Saunders

Bookslut: interview

Dinner a Love Story: Interview

Beaks & Geeks podcast interview

Check out his work in The New Yorker

Check out his work in GQ