Tenth of December by George Saunders

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Our “You Gotta Check This Out” pick of the week is Tenth of December, a collection of short stories from Syracuse University professor George Saunders.

Each one of the 10 short stories is like a little explosion, sparking the mind and providing enough fodder to fuel an entire book club meeting.

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Although the stories vary greatly in theme and length, a dark and unsettling tone pervades. Often, while things start out on a bright note, there is evil lurking around the corner, blackness and rot hiding just behind a sunny and healthy exterior.

In “Escape from Spiderhead” and “The Semplica Girl Diaries,” two of the collection’s more memorable stories, Saunders uses alternate realities to present scathing social commentary about our own time. The former tells the story of a prisoner who, as a result of his crime, becomes a subject to futuristic pharmaceutical testing. The latter takes the form of diary entries from a future dad who’s desperate to keep up with the Joneses.  Both start out lightly and brightly enough, but soon it becomes apparent that something is not quite right, and there will not be a happy ending for our protagonists.

These searing stories will brand a mark on your brain. Check them out today!

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