Tenth of December by George Saunders
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This came out in paperback recently! I finally got around to reading it . . . and now I'm definitely a George Saunders fan.
Tenth of December can be dark and deep, but it is balanced out with wit and and a fascinating quality--either in the setting or in humanity, which ends up being quietly marvelous.
I was thrilled with the brilliance of some of the stories . . . "Escape from Spiderhead" & "Victory Lap." Saunders uses his intense ability to get you deep into the characters and plot in such a short span of time. He creates another version of the world where either characters, a setting, or an aspect of society is slightly exaggerated, but not fully disconnected from reality. This allows him to examine dark places and triumphant yet often bleak themes (and the subsequent social commentary) and still while providing a range of piercing emotions and creative, revelatory perspective. I wouldn't read these stories one after the other, but separately with a little time to think about the good ones.