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Publisher's Summary

Winner: The Folio Prize 2014
From the undisputed master of the short story comes a dazzling and disturbing new collection. A family member recollects a backyard pole dressed for all occasions; Divisional Director Todd Birnie sends round a memo to employees he thinks need some inspiration; and in an auction of local celebrities Al Roosten hides his own internal monologue behind a winning smile. Although, as a young boy discovers, sometimes the voices fade and all you are left with is a frozen hill on a cold day in December...
©2013 George Saunders (P)2013 W F Howes Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"Saunders, as an American social and literary critic, may be shaping up as the Orwell of the millennium" (The TImes)
"He makes the all-but-impossible look effortless" (Jonathan Franzen)
"Not since Twain has America produced a satirist this funny with a prose style this fine" (Zadie Smith)
"There’s something so wildly magnanimous about these stories that you want to force them on everyone you meet for the good of mankind" (Daily Telegraph)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Texnik on 11-27-17

Good stories; very hard to follow

I think I'll get a refund, having read the summaries of the stories I've listened to so far. Apparently I listened to 3 stories and not 2. Thanks Wikipedia.

See... as far as short real-world stories go, these were quite good so far. I'll probably add the book to my ever-growing Kindle list.

I'm also of the opinion that there's no reason to be very critical of short audiobooks, (since they're such a small time investment) but in this case I am afraid that the narration will ruin/spoil them for me. Maybe their style just makes them unsuitable for medium-budget narration. The narrator is clearly not a voice actor and these stories all but demand voice acting.

The first 3 stories are streams of consciousness with dialogue and action. The narrator did his best to differentiate between the characters, but that led to akthenths that are hahther to undethtand. There's also no redundancy in the stories. Miss something and you'll be lost for a few minutes. I missed half of the plot, according to Wikipedia. The transition between stories is also just one word in a sea of words, usually. I still don't quite remember what the second story was.

The tone is very light, but these stories aren't light listens. I'd have to pay closer attention than what I can afford right now. I hope they're better when I'm the one reading them.

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By Suswati on 11-21-17

Dark, disturbing and satirical

This collection of short stories cannot be pigeon-holed. In this oddly disjointed, surreal collection, the underlying issues in modern American culture are loudly explored. George Saunders' breathless writing style floods over terrible realities and hard truths, leaving the reader gasping in its wake.

Tenth of December handles its running themes in a poignant, individual and certainly irreverent way. Narcissistic ideas of charity stems from trivial competition, while sheer denial is shown in the face of true poverty. Generations breed generations, passing on corrupted ideals and traumatic examples. Paedophilia, racism, poverty: nothing is safe from these chastising, powerful stories.

Saunders leaves an expunged, brutally telling view of the American dream. In his futuristic imaginings, he exaggerates the failings of Western consumerism, yet ultimately his message is clear: When one tries to have it all, they're left with nothing.

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