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New work from George Saunders
January 8, 2013 1:24 PM   Subscribe

George Saunders has released a new book of short stories titled Tenth of December. The short story of the same title has been published previously. Last week, the New York Times Magazine profiled Saunders, and this week, the Paris Review published Saunders' full preface to his first collection of stories. Saunders previously.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (27 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
I had never heard of Saunders before last week's NYT piece, and I've got two of his books in my house now, thanks to my similarly-minded wife. Really excited to start reading him -- a lot of the themes of his work that they described in that profile are things I've been obsessing over lately.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:40 PM on January 8, 2013


I've been drooling over a bunch of the cool author/fiction posts lately and George Saunders occurred to me as a good subject of a post, but I never followed up on finding any links. I thank you Misters Hall and Oates for getting right on it.
posted by carsonb at 1:48 PM on January 8, 2013


He's done some really great work for GQ. Here is a list. The piece of the Buddha Boy and on Dubai are especially moving.

The Incredible Buddha Boy - Ram Bomjon was a 15-year-old who had been meditating under a tree for months without food or water. George Saunders went in search of a miracle


The New Mecca - It has been called the Vegas of the Middle East, but Dubai goes way, way beyond that: By 2010, if all goes according to plan, it may well be the greatest city on earth. Hell, it may already be. A guided tour through steroidal capitalism, world revolution, and the finest hotel rooms money can buy


Tent City, U.S.A. - A field study, in these Hard Times, of the Homeless (as observed in the H Street Encampment, Fresno, California). Being an examination of who they are, how they think, and what they do

The Great Divider - Is the border the wedge issue of our time…or just a line in the sand? A message from George Saunders. PLUS: How you can make a difference

posted by beisny at 2:16 PM on January 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Also, no goat.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:23 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's easy to mock The New Yorker, particularly its fiction section, but it's through stories in The New Yorker that I discovered George Saunders, Zadie Smith, Juanot Diaz, Alice Munro and ZZ Packer, which is a pretty damn good track record.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 2:28 PM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh god damn I had no idea this was out thank you thank you thank you

Dude is probably among my top five living writers. If you have a New Yorker digital subscription, I strongly recommend I Can Speak!, which is probably the best story about early-21st-century consumerism I've ever read.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:52 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I used to mock the New Yorker. Then my wife subscribed to it and I immediately got hooked. Every single issue is filled with amazing, amazing, amazing writing, often about things I didn't expect to care about. As a magazine, it has its flaws, but they are minor compared to the amount of radness. And George Saunders' regular contributions are exhibit A.
posted by Erroneous at 2:55 PM on January 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


This was a phenomenal profile in the Times...I almost dropped my laptop when I saw it. Saunders! On the cover!!

Thanks for the post, it's great to see all the links everyone has and will come up with.
posted by nevercalm at 2:55 PM on January 8, 2013


I am going to see him speak in Chicago in an hour!
posted by deathpanels at 3:03 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, he's on tour right now doing a bunch of readings for the new book (Chicago tonight, NYC on Thurs). Here's the event schedule.
posted by mattbucher at 3:03 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


His book of essays, The Braindead Megaphone is worth reading for the title essay alone.
posted by wittgenstein at 3:18 PM on January 8, 2013


NYC on Thurs). Here's the event schedule.

Holy SHIT holy SHIT he is coming to a bookstore right off the FUCKING G TRAIN i do not know what I did to make the gods so happy with me but this is BADICAL
posted by Greg Nog at 3:35 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Saunders' ability to mix the deeply sad and the deeply funny within a single story is amazing. My personal favorite is Sea Oak.
posted by mcmile at 3:40 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fun fact: the "So Easy A Caveman Can Do It" commercials are based on Saunders' story Pastoralia.

(Would link to proof but typing from tiny, crappy phone-puter.)
posted by deathpanels at 3:50 PM on January 8, 2013


Never heard of the man before this week, to be honest, but I'm thinking I may have to get this book, if only because the Tenth of December is my birthday.
posted by webmutant at 4:00 PM on January 8, 2013


Ditto, ditto, ditto to all the Saunders love.
posted by GrammarMoses at 4:54 PM on January 8, 2013


I got Civilwarland in Bad Decline after reading his short story The 400-Pound CEO many years ago and have loved him ever since. Amazing, amazing stuff.
posted by googly at 5:00 PM on January 8, 2013


I took an intro short story creative writing class a whiles back in college. First few weeks we read all sorts of literature: Chekhov, Poe, Cheever, etc. Good stuff. But then about three or four classes in, we read Barthelme ("The School") and Saunders ("The End of FIRPO in the World), and all of sudden I felt like I'd found my soul mates. Holy shit, did those two guys write the way I wanted to write. The rhythms of their sentences, the dark humor and bizarre settings, the allegories for BIG issues that never sacrificed laugh out loud turns of phrases. I was blown away and I thought for sure I'd found my muses. I was smitten.

Turns out so was half the class. We all wrote pale imitations of Barthelme and Saunders stories for the rest of the term. Heh, not sure he'd want to take credit for the dreck we put out, but he's been so influential amongst not just professional writers of his generation, but for readers of my generation. He tapped into something of whatever is going on now, and I'm so glad I found him as early in my reading life as I did.
posted by jng at 5:04 PM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Until this post, I had always thought George Saunders was a woman. I think I had conflated George Sand and Hilary Saint George Saunders (also a man). Anyway, I shall now go reread a short story or two from Pastoralia with my new found perspective. Also, yay for literary posts!!!
posted by bluefly at 6:44 PM on January 8, 2013


It's easy to mock The New Yorker, particularly its fiction section, but it's through stories in The New Yorker that I discovered George Saunders, Zadie Smith, Juanot Diaz, Alice Munro and ZZ Packer, which is a pretty damn good track record.

There is a thing which is easy to mock, which is The Generic New Yorker Short Story. It is in The New Yorker, and short; and also: artfully crafted, vaguely highbrow, and not really compelling. The New Yorker runs these generic stories, along with some really interesting short fiction that is often written by the writers mentioned above.

George Saunders is a genius. The first thing I read by him was Sea Oak.
posted by ovvl at 6:50 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The first thing I read by him was Sea Oak

You always hear people say someone's writing "crackles" but Sea Oak is one of the first times I've felt that term was appropriate. Or maybe I'm thinking of "cackles."
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:31 PM on January 8, 2013


I told my friend about the Brooklyn book-tour appearance on Thursday, and it's looking like she'll go with me, in hopes of getting him to sign her framed needlepoint that her friend made for her, which reads, in flowery lettering: "I'm Still So Nice"
posted by Greg Nog at 8:07 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I absolutely adore George Saunders.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:17 PM on January 8, 2013


Just read "Sea Oak."

I feel about as articulate as Min and Jade.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:20 PM on January 8, 2013


Shooooow... Youuuuur.... Coooooock....
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:11 PM on January 8, 2013


Hurray he is coming to San Francisco, too! Thanks for the post!
posted by trip and a half at 9:23 PM on January 8, 2013


If you haven't seen it -- I Was Ayn Rand's Lover:
Then she would rip the Algebra book from my hands and throw me across some Frank Lloyd Wright-looking piece of furniture, and we would take from each other the pleasure that is a human being’s right, the unapologetic gratification of one’s selfish, noble urges, a pleasure second only to the pleasure of recognizing that all your life you’d been fed a steady diet of lies from the wreckers who would reduce man to a mere beast sucking at the teat, thereby robbing him of the power of the work of his hands.
posted by benzenedream at 10:25 AM on January 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


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