Happy to hear positive notices about this novel. Tenth of December was my first Saunders book after encountering a few of his stories in English classes (for some reason, his short stories about human test subjects seem to be the most commonly anthologized).
I was surprised to hear you describe his unflinching authorial eye as being hard to stomach or requiring a walk outside, though. There’s something in the way Saunders confronts cruelty with perfect equanimity that — it doesn’t distance you from it, exactly, but it sort of forces you to understand pain and suffering within some larger universal context. It’s a bad thing that will soon be over, and then will go somewhere else.