Tenth of December [Image source]
I read this in the space of a few days, while in [a country], just before the wedding. In fact I believe that I finished it on the afternoon of the wedding (which happened at night).
As with the Patrick Melrose novels, there seemed to be a big publicity push just before the release of this collection of stories. I had heard of Saunders already and was curious to read him, so this seemed a fitting place to start. Some of the stories I found interesting, and I appreciate his ability to create distinctive, colloquial voices, but in the end I was underwhelmed. Perhaps there was simply too much hype for me. I found it sometimes formulaic — he puts you in the middle of someone’s thoughts, in a situation where you gradually begin to realize that something is wrong, and have to wait for the little clues to tell you what is happening. ‘Semplica Girl Diary’ being a typical example; I don’t mean to disparage that particular story, it’s good, and has rightly received quite a bit of attention in other reviews.
The trend is becoming clearer to me, that contemporary literature almost always disappoints me in some way.