Tenth of December by George Saunders: Home

Tenth of December

Home is a story about Mike, a veteran returning home. His house (his Ma’s house, actually) looks the same, more or less, but the people who make that house a home aren’t the same except for his Ma who is fiercely loyal to Mike. Ma’s old partner has moved out and her new partner, Harris is a stranger to Mike, Mike’s ex-wife is remarried to a schoolmate of his and he is reluctant to let Mike see his kids, and his sister, Renee who is married to a rich family isn’t too thrilled to see Mike. So, this is probably not the homecoming Mike had in mind.


(Image credit: The New Yorker)

It is on the same evening Mike returns that Ma gets evicted from her home of 18 years. And that’s when signs that Mike might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder start to show. He gets disoriented and angry quickly, and what follows is a dark, sad story.

I often find Saunder’s short stories to be funny, but this one wasn’t for me (unless you count Mike being thanked for his service by people who lead cushy lives, like Renee’s in-laws who would have never seen the ravages of war in horrifying close-up, satirically funny!). However, Home has a very powerful conclusion, so it is a good read.


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