Some may wonder what George Saunders, the brilliant and often bitingly satirical author whose work largely came of age during the George W. Bush administration, would find to focus on in this nominally less politically fraught time. It turns out that to a writer for whom humanity's moral imperatives - indeed the very essence of humanity itself - is at the center of his attention, there's still more than enough material to populate a devastatingly insightful collection like Tenth of December
. The ten stories collected here, most of which were originally published in The New Yorker
(as well as Story
, and Harper's
magazines), hold up a brutally detailed mirror to the human condition, forcing us to examine ourselves yellow teeth, wrinkles, warts, and all.
People do terrible things to one another in...
Beyond the Book
George Saunders is well known for his inventive use of language; perhaps his willingness to explore and exploit the forms and function of language derives in part from his earlier career, as a geophysical engineer. Saunders credits his early exposure to the works of Ayn Rand (some of the first fiction he recalls reading) with his decision to enter the field of engineering in college. "I read [her books] and I thought that's what I want to do," Saunders said in an interview with Guernica, "I want to be one of the earth movers, the scientific people who power the world. And I don't want to be one of these...