This satisfying collection, by Irish writers if the highest calibre, makes the perfect companion for those languid days around Christmas, when you finally sit down and get a moment to yourself. The contents page reads like a who’s who of the greats of Irish writing , John McGahern, James Plunkett, Frank O’Connor and the recently deceased, the wonderful William Trevor, to name but a few. There is a full range of moods and emotions here, from childlike wonder to bitter resignation to life’s difficulties. My own favourite is the incomparable Clare Boylan’s story, “The Spirit of the Tree”, which is a pure delight and conveys the era it is set in and the magical thinking of childhood, exquisitely. Eddie Stack’s “Time Passes” presents us with a sombre, poignant study on the emigrants who return home each year, for Christmas and will strike a chord with many. William Trevor’s story, “Another Christmas”, also deals with the theme of exile and we are reminded of how Christmas can be a time of particular loneliness for many people. If you are looking for a “Christmas Read” that will do more than just pass the time, this anthology is highly recommended. It’s ideal for dipping in and out of, each story with its individual flavour and viewpoint on the Christmas theme. In the introduction, Marcus says of the book, “It reveals, preserves, delights. It is the writers gift, their Christmas present to all readers.” I urge you to give yourself this present, its one you will truly remember.
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ online here.