Tenth of December: George Saunders

by Andre

Paperback now available – £8.99

George Saunders TENTH OF DECEMBERHoping to read Tenth of December by George Saunders in a handy paperback format on 10 December, 2013? Well, if you call at the Riverside you can indeed enjoy this moment of literary synchronicity; or at the very least get hold of this acclaimed collection before all your well-read friends. We’re happy to report that the publisher has supplied us with the paperback edition ahead of its official January 2014 release date. Given the half-dozen mentions for Tenth of December in the end-of-year newspaper round-ups, it means we can satisfy the many curious readers who’ll be seeking out George Saunders this month. The hardback has slipped out of print and a certain retailer, perhaps distracted by developing its drone technology, is still listing the Tenth of December paperback as being on sale on 2 January, 2014.

Frankly, you can’t wait until then for this book, which has cemented Saunders’s reputation as the finest American writer of short stories at work today. Saunders can be funny, surreal, bleak and humane on the same page. Take his 1998 story Sea Oak which features a male stripper who’s working in an aviation-themed restaurant, while also trying to deal with the reanimated corpse of his Aunt Bernie and her concerted efforts to restore the American Dream for her penurious family.

Saunders’s Royal Festival Hall event this summer ended up being a master class about one particular story he read from (Victory Lap, which opens the new collection) that had nascent authors in the audience scribbling away feverishly. George made it look easy, but it’s really not. As Zadie Smith puts it on the cover of the paperback edition – did we mention it’s already on our shelves? – of Tenth of December: “Not since Twain has America produced a satirist this funny with a prose style this fine.”

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