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Tenth of December
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2014 Book Discussions > Tenth of December - Al Roosten (May 2014)

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Terry Pearce | 763 comments Discuss 'Al Roosten' here.

The story made heavy use of internal dialogue. How do you feel about Roosten's dialogue? How do you feel about him as a character, and his decisions? What does this say to you about things outside the story?

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2267 comments I reread this story last night and I'm still do not think I'm getting the point. Al Roosten is a sad man (as in other stories). His business is failing. His divorced sister has moved in with him, along with 3 rambunctious boys. He is in one of those charity things where you have to get bailed out of jail by contributors, although this one seems to have a twist in that those choosing to go to jail first do a runway walk (a perp walk?). Al nervous but things his walk goes okay - as good as the guy before him who he envies. But then the guy - Larry - calls him Ed and says "don't worry about it." We never find out what "it" is and neither, it seems, does Al. But Al is bummed and decides Larry is a prick after all. Then Al gets angry when he sees Larry's clothes laying on a chair in the changing room and Larry's wallet and keys on the floor. Al kicks Larry's keys and wallet under a riser.

Then Al has second thoughts when he hears Larry talking about being late to take his daughter to see a doctor. But Al is too embarrassed and just leaves. The second thoughts continue and he envisions returning to help look for the keys & wallet and becoming a hero. But he doesn't. Al finds himself back in front of his store. There are no customers, only the hobos, i.e., the homeless, walking around with misspelled signs, scaring customers away.

So is there a moral here? What is Saunders trying to tell us?

Based on Al's conversation with himself, I'd say he's depressed. He's looking hard for someway to feel good about himself but failing. Is Suanders telling us to look beyond outside appearances? Is this where niceness comes in?

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