Thursday, November 08, 2012

Anticipating: Tenth of December by George Saunders

Word has come down from the PBA that I am to inform you of the upcoming George Saunders collection, Tenth of December, due in January 2013 from Random House.

When people ask me about George Saunders (which they never do) I always (not really) tell them that he's the new Kurt Vonnegut.

New and improved. I taste a hint of David Foster Wallace in there too.

George Saunders stories operate in their own world.  Each time I crack open a new story, there's always a a page or two where I'm finding my feet and getting my balance.  It's almost like science fiction, but not at all.

Kind of like Etgar Keret, actually.  But longer.

Many of the stories that appear in Tenth of December appeared in The New Yorker.  I don't know if they've been modified since their initial publication (the PBA doesn't supply that kind of information), but I can assure you that I have read most of them and they are excellent.

The title story, "Tenth of December" can be read for free on The New Yorker's site here.  It's awesome.  Check out this first sentence: "The pale boy with unfortunate Prince Valiant bangs and cublike mannerisms hulked to the mudroom closet and requisitioned Dad’s white coat."

How's that for contrasting images?  Pale, Prince valiant bangs, cublike, hulked.

Another story, "Victory Lap" also appeared in The New Yorker. I'm going to go out on a limb here and tell you that "Victory Lap" is totally worth the cost of the book alone.  Maybe even the cost of a New Yorker subscription (probably not - it's crazy expensive!).  It's such a great story.

Folks at the PBA probably won't be happy if I don't mention that George Saunders is also the author of some other great books, including CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, Pastoralia and In Persuasion Nation.

Everything I've read by Mr. Sauders has been, by my own estimation, excellent.

Meanwhile, the PBA wasn't able to tell me why Random House wasn't publishing The Tenth of December in December.  I mean, I have the book on my nightstand right now.  It's not like they couldn't push it out right after Thanksgiving.

I digress.

Read the book.  It's good for you.

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