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Join us for a video chat with George Saunders Tuesday

February 01, 2013|By Carolyn Kellogg
  • Author George Saunders
Author George Saunders (Chloe Aftel / Random House )

Humanist, humorist, satirist: George Saunders writes stories that don't fit neatly into categories. They can be grotesque and also touching, sad and weird, delightful, horrible, fantastical and strange. Sometimes they're all those things at once.

Join us here for a live video chat with Saunders on Tuesday at 10 a.m. PST.

His new short story collection, "Tenth of December," has just spent its second week on the L.A. Times bestseller list. Times book critic David L. Ulin writes, "What the book at its best achieves is a vivid synergy between the ridiculous culture we have built for ourselves and the heartbreak and longing of our inner lives."

Ulin continues: "We want to belong, Saunders is saying, we want to be better people, and yet we cannot get out from under the day-to-day. Or, as the narrator of 'Home' — an Iraq war vet on the run from unspecified crimes — puts it: 'Then suddenly something softened in me, maybe at the sight of Ma so weak, and I dropped my head and waded all docile into that crowd of know-nothings, thinking, Okay, okay, you sent me, now bring me back. Find some way to bring me back ... or you are the sorriest bunch of bastards the world has ever known.'"

Several of the stories in Saunders' new collection appeared in the New Yorker, and two are online in their entirety: "The Semplica Girl Diaries" and "Tenth of December," in case you want to go read them right now.

We'll be talking to Saunders about the book, its very positive reception, and the contrast between promoting a book and his regular life teaching and writing.

When you join us on Spreecast, you can ask a question in the chat box during our discussion -- or if you've got something you'd like to ask Saunders in advance, tweet it to @latimesbooks.

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