George Saunders touches on the dark side of American society with humour, heavy irony and imagination. He’s very talented and avant-garde and deserves all the praise he gets.
Tenth of December includes short stories full of brilliant symbolisms that combine elements of tragedy and comedy, in which absurd allegory is definitely favoured over conventional realism. I found that the stories reflect a consistent melancholic mood, yet he’s such a master of satire that really funny results often emerge totally out of the blue!
However, I’m not completely sold on the heart of these stories. As thought–provoking and imaginative as his fiction is, I didn’t find it emotionally engaging enough. On the other hand, he does deal with sensitive political and social issues that inevitably provoke cynicism, so perhaps the heartless element is intentional. I don’t know.
What I do know is that Thomas Pynchon was right. This is “an astoundingly tuned voice—graceful, dark, authentic, and funny”
.. but then in Pynchon’s opinion, the voice is also “—telling just the kinds of stories we need to get us through these times”.
I suppose I need to read more of Saunders’s work to decide upon that last bit. Because there’s not doubt about the prose; the prose is STUNNING!