Curious George (Tenth of December by George Saunders)

Tenth of DecemberIn his latest collection, Tenth of December (Random House), George Saunders pulls back on some of the outlandishness of his earlier stories, though not on his idiosyncratic approach to telling them, which combines the stylized fun-making of employing a debased American sociolect (rife with cliché, slogans and corporate double-speak) and Saunders’ greatest gift as a storyteller, namely his seemingly limitless capacity for empathy. What’s left is a collection of stories that begin as funny, weird little baubles only to unfold into deeply-moving narratives about its characters’ flailing imperfect attempts at happiness, humanity and redemption. In the best of these stories—”Tenth of December” (available for free at The New Yorker) and “Victory Lap”, which both feature awkward young boys suddenly faced with the impossible need for heroic action—Saunders will make you laugh and weep, sometimes all at once.

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