In light of Saunders’ recent success in publishing his first full novel, this review looks back to one of his most insightful collections of short stories: Tenth of December.
In this oddly disjointed, surreal collection, the underlying issues in modern American culture are loudly explored. An exhilarating read, 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 stem 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, all they will ever have is nothing.
Length: 251 (Bloomsbury)
Overall Rating: 5 stars
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