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Book review: Tenth of December, by George Saunders

Reviewed by Aaron Kreuter

Tenth of December, George Saunders’ newest collection of short fiction, makes a strong case for the power, versatility, and joy that can be found in the short story form. These stories, whether taking place in the mind of a 14-year-old girl, in the diary entries of a father trying to keep his family happy, or in the form of a disturbing workplace memo, are full of Saunders’ trademark wit, language play, precision-drilled sentences, and compassion. The themes that come up again and again in these stories—family, the rich/poor divide in America, the sterilizing effects of late capitalism, characters making a choice between doing the right thing and doing the easy thing—create a world of absurdity, self-doubt, and contradiction, a world filled with characters who possess both the stubbornness and the self-delusion required to persevere in the face of perpetual unfairness and indifference.

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