Tenth of December in September

George Saunders


By nature, I’m not the biggest fan of short stories. I get too deeply invested in a good read and somewhat like a relationship that’s going well, I hate the thought of it ending quickly. Wait, what??  We were only just getting to know each other.  I thought…I had all these plans…Wow.  I bought this outfit, had my hair blown out and you’re leaving already??  

So that’s me with short stories.

However, someone who obviously knows me better than I know myself gave me George Saunder’s “Tenth of December”.  I devoured it in two days.

George Saunders has turned this monogamous reader into a speed dater. Go figure.



PS. These stories aren’t light. Actually, I’m mincing- they’re dark, sometimes painfully dark-but the writing is so effortless and light, the character’s inner dialogues so morbidly funny, I was laughing out loud. Embarrassing. Thank God I was reading in private(ish)

P.P.S. Included in the collection is a conversation between David Sedaris and George Saunders which turned me into even more of a Fan Girl. Waaaa-I want to be in my early 20’s again and a student of Saunder’s Creative Writing program at Syracuse. Failing that, which, admittedly, is pretty much a given, I’m going to read everything he’s written.

Which will result in a nice long relationship between us.


Back to my old ways 🙂


  1. I’ve always felt exactly the same about short stories, I’m just getting into the story and it’s over. I do make the occasional exception, the one that comes to mind first is Raymond Carver. I’m re-reading “Where I’m Calling From,” which is amazing. Then of course there’s Cheever…

  2. Tenth of December is one of my all time favourites and I’ve recommended it repeatedly to my reader friends. I’m sure that you will definitely enjoy his others too… Next, you must pick up some Alice Munro whose collections of stories are inter-connected and quite wonderful. Happy reading!

  3. I have a short story story. I was coming to Alaska for the first time and checked everything but my purse and a small volume of short stories by Maeve Binchy titled “This Year Will Be Different”. One of my seat mates was sitting on my seat belt and when I went to look for it, I asked him to hold it for me. I saw him looking it over. When I found my belt and was seated he handed it back to me and fell promptly asleep until we reached cruising altitude. He woke up, turned to me and asked me if I was a fan of the author. I said, yes, I love all her work. He then said he’d done a play for the BBC based on one of her novels and wondered if the title was listed in the book. I handed it to him and he found it right away. I knew who he was before he even boarded the plane. So, I coyly asked him if maybe he’d autograph over the play he’d done, “Firefly Summer”. I started digging for a pen, but he found one right away and said, “I’ve got one.” And signed David, I looked at him sternly, he sighed and completed the autograph, Soul. I said, “I knew it was you.” We had a really fun flight, turns out he’s from Minnesota, too and a really great guy. He sent me the audio version of the play from London, where he lives. It arrived on Christmas Eve.

  4. You are better off not being in your twenties nowadays:the unemployment rate for that age group is sky-high. Looks like an interesting book. Maybe I should read it? 🙂

  5. I loved his collection “Pastoralia.” I used to be hugely into short stories, but I’ve tapered off in recent years. Have you tried the work of your fellow Canadian, Alice Munro? Truly brilliant, and many of her storied run long, so you don’t have that abrupt, it’s-already-over? feeling. 🙂

  6. Yes, I have read Alice Munro, though not recently I must admit. I should revisit. “Pastoralia” is now on my list after finishing “Tenth of December”

  7. “Tenth of December” arrived today – looking forward to reading it. I highly recommend William Trevor’s The Collected Stories. He will definitely change your mind forever about “short stories!”

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