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Christmas Stories (Everyman's Library) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 30, 2007
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“A rich and classy story collection (with sewn-in red ribbon bookmark) by such literary greats as Dickens, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Cather, Nabokov, Cheever and Munro. If this were an assortment of chocolates, it would be a feast of the finest dark truffles--not a cheap, waxy bite in the bunch.” –Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Think you’ve heard it all? Every tiny reindeer named, every Grinch ungrinched, all the ho-ho-hum holiday stories tediously read, recited, re-recited, the classics on a constant loop? Maybe not. Here are twenty Christmas tales, from Tolstoy to Richard Ford, as fresh as a Christmas Eve snowfall.” –Charles McNair, NPR.org
About the Author
Diana Secker Tesdell is the editor of the Everyman's Pocket Classic anthologies Christmas Stories, Love Stories, Dog Stories, Cat Stories, Horse Stories, New York Stories, Bedtime Stories, Stories of Art and Artists, Stories of Fatherhood, Stories of Motherhood, Stories of the Sea, and Stories from the Kitchen, and of the Everyman's Library Pocket Poet Lullabies and Poems for Children.
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don't want a large tome but.. a few surprising short stories
about Christmas and the season around it.
Good value.. Well made hardcover book
Makes a nice gift for friends who have everything...
The Dickens story is not ‘A Christmas Carol’ but ‘The Story of the Goblins who stole a Sexton’. It is taken from the Pickwick Papers. Written seven years before ‘A Christmas Carol’, it does have some relationship to the Christmas Carol theme – the Sexton taking the part of Scrooge. The Gogol story, ‘The Night Before Christmas’, is taken from ‘Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka’; the Conan Doyle is a Sherlock Holmes story, ‘The Blue Carbuncle’.
The Tolstoy, ‘Where Love is, God is’, I was sorry to find uncharacteristically pedestrian. That cannot be entirely the fault of the very old translation (Louise and Aylmer Maude), but neither that nor the Chekhov, 'Vanka' (translated by Constance Garnett), can be said to sparkle, convenient as it may be for the publisher that the translations are out of copyright.
The Gogol, by contrast, translated by the still very much contemporary Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, is excellent (and does offer a goodly amount of snow). That is just as well; occupying 54 pages, it is the longest story in the book.
Second longest (50 pages) is Trollope’s ‘Christmas at Thompson Hall’. Oh dear; we wait such a long time for the principal characters to tumble to realizations we as readers reached long ago, I was reminded of Trollope’s reputed habit of writing 3000 words a day, regardless – and that whilst holding down his job as a Surveyor for the Post Office. I guess the way to do that is to steadfastly plod through a simple linear tale, making no attempt at anything posterity is likely to regard as fine writing.
I didn’t list either geese or turkeys among the Christmas features with a low count in this volume. Sherlock Holmes gives us 26 geese, and Alice Munro, in ‘The Turkey Season’, as many turkeys as were killed, plucked and gutted on a turkey farm in a whole season. Munro’s story is for me the most memorable, and probably the finest, in the whole book. (Well, she did win the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature.) She places herself, aged 14, working before and after school in the gutting shed of a fictional (not her father’s actual) turkey farm. Her boss, his son, the boss’s sister, a couple of hired women and two hired men are all interesting people in their way, especially to the 14-year-old budding author. Relationships are not easy, there are some blow-ups, and the narrator is savvy enough to realize that there is more going on in the hearts, minds and lives of at least some of her workmates than is openly admitted. Wonderful. (The story is included in Alice Munro’s 1982 short story collection ‘The Moons of Jupiter and Other Stories and is now also available in Selected Stories which has itself been re-published - post-Nobel - as Family Furnishings: Selected Stories, 1995-2014.)
Other authors include Nikolai Gogol (The Night Before Christmas), Anthony Trollope (Christmas at Thompson Hall), Anton Chekhov (Vanka), Willa Cather (The Burglar's Christmas), Saki[H. H. Munro](Rginald's Christmas Revel), Vladimir Nabokov (Christmas), Damon Runyon (Dancing Dan's Christmas), Elizabeth Bowen (Green Holly), John Cheever (Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor), John Updike (The Carol Sing), Muriel Spark (Christmas Fugue), Grace Paley (The Loudest Voice), Alice Munro (The Turkey Season), and finally Richard Ford (Creche).
Comedy, suspense, or a touch of the emotional, it's all here.
If you want a book to carry with you on your holiday travels to fill in quieter momemts, Christmas Stories is the book for you. This would also make a terrific gift for anyone who loves the season. What a wonderful story collection.