Review – The Tenth of December by George Saunders
by Jon Page - March 11th, 2014
I don’t read a lot of short stories. As whole I find them unsatisfying and would much rather sink my teeth into something longer. All though in saying that I am a massive convert to serial fiction where you get to read 100-200 pages of a continuous story every 3-4 months. There has been a lot of buzz about George Saunders’ latest collection of stories and after receiving a strong recommendation to give him a go I did exactly that.
The first story, Victory Lap, was amazing. The way Saunders got into the head of the three characters so quickly and fully was something to behold. It is a powerful and dark story, told very delicately, that really kicked off the collection well. Saunders followed this up with Sticks, a really shorty story consisting of only two paragraphs that again packed a punch that belied its size. My other favourites in the collection were Escape From Spiderhead, which is about an unusual experiment conducted on prisoners and the powerful The Semplica-Girl Diaries which lures you into some absolutely biting satire.
The writing is amazing but by the end of the collection my feelings about short stories bore true again. I felt unsatisfied and wanting more exploration of the ideas Saunders was bringing up and commenting on. As a writer I can see that he is a masterful storyteller, as reader I just wanted a bit more to sink my teeth into.