by George Saunders
I’ve loved reading George Saunders since I first came across his work; a trip to the blog archives tells me this was eight years ago, when I picked up CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. I thought he wrote sick, funny stories. He does. Whether he’s writing for (in theory) children, actual grown ups, going way over the top to make his point, or introducing hope and redemption into the mix, I always find him worth reading.
Tenth of December is his latest collection of stories. Satire? Check. Suburban madness? Yup. Bizarre yet frighteningly recognizable alternate versions of reality swimming in misery, yet it makes you laugh? Definitely.
In one sick — in the world it of the story it seems ordinary, but the Milgram experiment taught us cruelty can seem normal and ordinary — experiment, a so-called scientist explains, “Contrary to what you might think, there’s not much data in crying. Use your words.”
I’m grateful Saunders uses his words, to ask hard questions, to poke holes in complacency, to give life in stories to questioning, bitterness, confusion, despair, and yes just enough hope.