Speaking Volumes
3:30 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Yes, George Saunders is that good

Gary Terner of Mt. Lebanon was blown away by the new short story collection from George Saunders.

Gary Terner likes edgy contemporary fiction and Gonzo-style sports writing.
Gary Terner likes edgy contemporary fiction and Gonzo-style sports writing.
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

George Saunders, Tenth of December

One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and "Tenth of December" is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet. In the taut opener, “Victory Lap,” a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In “Home,” a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. A hapless, deluded owner of an antiques store; two mothers struggling to do the right thing; a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush with reality; a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments that force him to lust, to love, to kill—the unforgettable characters that populate the pages of "Tenth of December" are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders’s signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation.
-Random House

Robertson Davies, The Deptford Trilogy

One of the most ambitious works of fiction of the twentieth century, Robertson Davies’s "Deptford Trilogy" reaches from rural Canada to the Swiss Alps and introduces a cast of characters as varied and fascinating as any in recent literature. It is a work of towering intellect, exploring ideas of good and evil, history and identity, truth and illusion, art and mysticism, and much more. But at the center of each of the three novels—"Fifth Business," "The Manticore," and "World of Wonders"—is a theme that connects the trilogy’s many intertwining stories: the need to recover a genuine experience of the marvelous, a sense of wonder, in a world from which it has been all but banished.
-Penguin

Bob Roll, Bobke II

Bob Roll—former Tour de France racer, well-known scribe, and race announcer—is back to cause a ruckus! Bobke II (pronounced “boob-ka”) revisits all of the original journals of Roll’s wild rides and crazy tales about cycling’s uncensored side. When Bobke retired from competition, his pen continued the crazed poetic commentary, and Roll’s newest additions cover both topics held reverent in cycling and also those that are hardly related to the sport. Bobke tips his cap to the classic riders and races, takes us on a grueling week of training with Lance Armstrong, tells the sport as he sees it, and entertains us with plenty of ditties and rants in between. It’s a zany, often absurd, yet compelling commotion.
-VeloPress