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The Christmas Kid: And Other Brooklyn Stories Hardcover – October 30, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Good ol’ Pete Hamill is a seasoned journalist who can be counted on to write fiction with heart and old-fashioned, human charm. No cutting-edge technique here, no dystopian vision of city life (Hamill is a born and bred Brooklynite), but he certainly doesn’t serve up pabulum to his eager readers. Hamill knows the toughness of city streets but also the warmth and richness to be found in the lives of the denizens of those streets. His latest book is a collection of short stories, most of them originally published in the New York Daily News. With their universality of theme and directness of style, they speak to all readers. For instance, The Christmas Kid, the longest story in the collection, is a poignant but never schmaltzy tale about Brooklyn immediately after WWII, when a Jewish boy from Europe is plunged into the neighborhood and is taught the ropes only to be taken away from this safe haven. His story is the story of the power of community. --Brad Hooper

Review

PRAISE FOR PETE HAMILL:

"Few people have written quite so beautifully about New York as Hamill has in recent years."—Tim Rutten, <em>Los Angeles Times</em> --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316232734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316232739
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pete Hamill is a novelist, journalist, editor, and screenwriter. He is the author of 15 previous books including the bestselling novels Snow in August and Forever and the bestselling memoir A Drinking Life. He writes a column for the New York Daily News and lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on November 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Pete Hamill grew up in the streets and tenements of immigrant, working-class Brooklyn, NY in the years during and after World War II. He went on to become a columnist, scriptwriter, editor, bestselling novelist and author.

With THE CHRISTMAS KID, Hamill cements his place as one of the greatest American writers who ever lived. This collection of 36 short stories reads like a panoramic novel of a Lost World. It's a place filled with vitality and nostalgia. The people inhabiting these pages deal with love, loss and fate as best as they can. This is an impossible collection to put down once you start it. It's Pete Hamill at the absolute top of his game.

And here is the amazing thing about these stories: 33 of them were written and first published in the most impermanent medium of them all --- a newspaper. In the early 1980s Hamill was working as a columnist for New York Daily News. He had the idea of bringing short fiction back to the newspaper. From the vantage point of the vanishing world of newspapers today, the 1980s were something of a Golden Age. Papers actually had their own Sunday supplement magazines. Most independent newspaper Sunday supplements are gone now, additions to "the lost city of memory" in Hamill's words.

Yet the stories in THE CHRISTMAS KID are as fresh, relevant and good today as they were the Sunday they first appeared all those years ago. Working within the limitations of a daily paper, Hamill has created fiction that lasted the test of time. He created literature. That is something that could only be done by the greatest of writers.

Despite being written in the early 1980s, these stories resonate both backwards and forwards in time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Big D VINE VOICE on December 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
No, this is not a collection of Christmas stories and to that degree, the fact that it was released at the start of the Christmas season, the title could be considered somewhat misleading. But don't worry about it. As they say in Brooklyn, "Fugget About It...."

This book is exceptional, one of the finest collections of short story fiction compiled in years. Years...Pete Hamill is good, one of the best at conveying the humor and pathos of the human experience as few writers can. He is exceptional as is this book.

Yes, the stories are rooted in Hamill's experience in Brooklyn, but they are stories of the human experience, human regret, human emotion and compassion, human endurance and happiness. They could take place in any Small Town, USA or in the canyons of Manhattan, wherever humans gather, put down roots and call that place "home."

A book well worth reading---and keeping.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stori Diva on September 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Pete Hamill is indeed a literary icon. I used to read his column and literary with zeal and he is an excellent storyteller.
Only someone who already established and can call his own shots (like Stephen King and a few others) can get away with writing short stories ( a venue I love). Most publishers wouldn't touch a bunch of short stories with a ten foot pole unless you were one of these literary giants.
The Christmas Kid is a novel of shorts told in Brooklynese written prolific Brooklynite.
I can't say I loved all the stories, some of them touched me, others made me sad, but most left with a feeling of the ethereal where I wanted to know more. Maybe Pete was just "leaving it to your imagination" For instance the story about the Spanish man who came to live with the old maid, two men came looking for him. It is never really spelled out who they were. immigration perhaps? The end of the story where they came to the old maid's door and asked for him and she said she the Mrs. then BOOM that was the end. So.. was I to figure out that she was in fact he? Did she kill him? what happened.

There there was the story of the two old crime buddies, one a once renowned swimmer. His friend tells him about a cache of money at the bottom of the river and all he has to do is go down and get it and they can split it. the swimmer laments that he was forty-nine and can do what he used to do. The other guy talks him into it and into the drink he goes.
The tide comes in and he rises once but further out. He disappears again and the friend waits long anxious frightening moments for his buddy to come up. He doesn't
Finally after long moments he rises holding the box over his head. but he sinks down again (with the box) and does not ascend again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KathyNJ on December 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A beautifully written book about life in a simpler time in the Brooklyn of my childhood. The stories tug at your heartstrings and confirm that love and family are eternal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on December 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
These short stories are beautifully written and engaging, but incredibly depressing. I enjoy the nostalgic theme, but almost every story ends as badly for the main character as possible. Too dark for my tastes, I couldn't finish this book.
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By H. F. Miglino on February 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I almost feel guilty liking the book so much. The title is misleading, this is a dark book very few if any happy endings to the stories. Most of the stories are about long lost loves, each of us must have a long lost love, did not turn out good, meet later in life, tragic ending, etc. These are the stories of middle class or lower class individuals who have led uneven lives. I actually remember reading some of these short stories in the 1980's when they were first published, I think. I really enjoy Pete Hamil, he is an acquired taste but well worth it. If you want to read human interest stories this is your book but do not be misled by the title.
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