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Skipping Christmas: Christmas with The Kranks [Paperback]

John Grisham
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Amazon Review

John Grisham has turned a satirical eye on the overblown ritual of the festive season, and the result is Skipping Christmas, a modest but funny novel about the tyranny of December 25. Grisham's story revolves around a typical middle-aged American couple, Luther and Nora Krank. On the first Sunday after Thanksgiving they wave their daughter Blair off to Peru to work for the Peace Corps, and suddenly realise that "for the first time in her young and sheltered life Blair would spend Christmas away from home".

Luther Krank sees his daughter's Christmas absence as an opportunity. An accountant, Luther quickly estimates that "a year earlier, the Luther Krank family had spent $6,100 on Christmas", and had "precious little to show for it". Luther makes an executive decision, telling his wife, friends and neighbours that "we won't do Christmas". Instead, Luther books a 10-day Caribbean cruise. All goes well until people get wind of the Kranks' subversive scheme. Everyone, from Christmas card salesmen to horrified neighbours, besieges the couple with questions; what about the Christmas party, carols and the erection of Frosty the Snowman? Things start to turn nasty in the local neighbourhood.

Grisham builds up a funny but increasingly terrifying picture of how the tightknit community turn on the Kranks, who find themselves under increasing pressure to conform. As the tension mounts, will they ever manage to board their plane on December 25? Skipping Christmas is Grisham-lite, with none of the serious drama of earlier books such as The Pelican Brief, but a funny poke at the craziness of Christmas. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Grisham may well be the best American storyteller writing today" (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Grisham is an absolute master" (The Washington Post)

"You can take the adventure out of Grisham, but you can't take Grisham out of his adventures . . . an impressive read" (The Observer)

"A great story-teller" (Daily Telegraph)

"A giant of the thriller genre" (Time Out)

Book Description

AN AMERICAN CLASSIC FROM THE NO.1 BESTSELLING MASTER THRILLER WRITER.

From the Publisher

John Grisham’s novels have all been Sunday Times No.1 bestsellers --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Imagine a year without Christmas.

No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents.

That's just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they'll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the Snowman; they won't be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren't even going to have a tree. They won't need one, because come December 25 they're setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences - and isn't half as easy as they'd imagined.

A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.

'A Great Story-teller' Daily Telegraph

'This man Grisham spins a damned good yarn' Time Out

About the Author

John Grisham is the author of twenty-two novels, one work of non-fiction, a collection of short stories, and a novel for young readers. He is on the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project in New York and is the Chairman on the Board of Directors for the Mississippi Innocence Project at the Mississippi School of Law. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi. His website is www.johngrisham.co.uk

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

One

The gate was packed with weary travelers, most of them standing and huddled along the walls because the meager allotment of plastic chairs had long since been taken. Every plane that came and went held at least eighty passengers, yet the gate had seats for only a few dozen.

There seemed to be a thousand waiting for the 7 p.m. flight to Miami. They were bundled up and heavily laden, and after fighting the traffic and the check-in and the mobs along the concourse they were subdued, as a whole. It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest days of the year for air travel, and as they jostled and got pushed farther into the gate many asked themselves, not for the first time, why, exactly, they had chosen this day to fly.

The reasons were varied and irrelevant at the moment. Some tried to smile. Some tried to read, but the crush and the noise made it difficult. Others just stared at the floor and waited. Nearby a skinny black Santa Claus clanged an irksome bell and droned out holiday greetings.

A small family approached, and when they saw the gate number and the mob they stopped along the edge of the concourse and began their wait. The daughter was young and pretty. Her name was Blair, and she was obviously leaving. Her parents were not. The three gazed at the crowd, and they, too, at that moment, silently asked themselves why they had picked this day to travel.

The tears were over, at least most of them. Blair was twenty-three, fresh from graduate school with a handsome résumé but not ready for a career. A friend from college was in Africa with the Peace Corps, and this had inspired Blair to dedicate the next two years to helping others. Her assignment was eastern Peru, where she would teach primitive little children how to read. She would live in a lean-to with no plumbing, no electricity, no phone, and she was anxious to begin her journey.

The flight would take her to Miami, then to Lima, then by bus for three days into the mountains, into another century. For the first time in her young and sheltered life, Blair would spend Christmas away from home. Her mother clutched her hand and tried to be strong.

The good-byes had all been said. "Are you sure this is what you want?" had been asked for the hundredth time. Luther, her father, studied the mob with a scowl on his face. What madness, he said to himself. He had dropped them at the curb, then driven miles to park in a satellite lot. A packed shuttle bus had delivered him back to Departures, and from there he had elbowed his way with his wife and daughter down to this gate. He was sad that Blair was leaving, and he detested the swarming horde of people. He was in a foul mood. Things would get worse for Luther...... How nice it would be to avoid Christmas, he began to think.

A snap of the fingers and it's January 2. No tree, no shopping, no meaningless gifts, no tipping, no clutter and wrappings, no traffic and crowds, no fruitcakes, no liquor and hams that no one needed, no "Rudolph" and "Frosty, " no office party, no wasted money. His list grew long. He huddled over the wheel, smiling now, waiting for heat down below, dreaming pleasantly of escape --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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