“They were sorry, they were saying with their bodies, they were accepting each other back, and that feeling, that feeling of being accepted back again and again, of someone’s affection for you always expanding to encompass whatever new flawed thing had just manifested in you, that was the deepest, dearest thing he’d ever—“
--George Saunders, “The Tenth of December” (from the
The stories of George Saunders almost always chart a hero's journey, undertaken by a middle-America protagonist as conflicted, clueless, lost and broken as you or me. They also almost always have a life-or-death sacrifice in the middle of them.
"The Tenth of December" is a kind of wacky Holy Family story. There's a Mary figure (Saunders often features valiant, deeply flawed mothers), a child Christ figure, and a stepfather/Joseph figure.
The link to the story has an accompanying interview.
I once wrote Saunders a somewhat insanely long fan letter re "The End of FIRPO in the World." And he wrote back.