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The Christmas Tree Paperback – 7 Oct 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; New edition (7 Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747262586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747262589
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 218,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

It is difficult to convey the marvellous quality of this book. Constance Keating is a major fictional portrait, her death finally noble (Martyn Goff Daily Telegraph)

The ending brings more than a lump to the throat. It is magnificent (Daily Express)

She is a skilful writer, using short flashbacks... in such a way that each page widens the picture. You start with a solitary woman, dying alone; you finish with a past, a history, great tenderness and no sentimentality (Caroline Moorhead Spectator)

A most distinguished novel (Irish Press)

Book Description

One of the great Jennifer Johnston's most critically acclaimed and moving novels

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 April 2000
Format: Paperback
Jennifer Johnston captures so much in this deceptively simple little book. You might imagine that it would be depressing to read about a dying woman's last Christmas, but strangely enough it is exhilarating. It even has moments that make you laugh. There is pathos, but there is beauty and it is very interesting to follow Constance Keating's efforts to make some sense of life and her experiences. She is trying to come up with a pattern, an explanation for why things are as they are. It is done with warmth and humour. This is the sort of book that leaves you feeling enriched.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Oct 1998
Format: Paperback
On first sight, this book may appear to be potentially depressing, as it deals with the events leading up to the premature death of an Irish woman in her 40s. In fact, depression is not an obvious emotion that the reader might experience. A feeling of being uplifted, even amused is more likely.
The story is told from several viewpoints in different timeframes, using flashbacks. Although this style has the potential to be confusing, it is handled in a very natural and easy-to-read way. Whilst the ending of the book is unsurprising in its nature, the presentation and perspective are unexpected and refreshing.
For me personally, I do not think that I came to like the central character, but I could see the world very clearly through her eyes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John McCartney, Amazon Customer on 2 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Strangely, as this is about a woman dying, this is a most life-affirming book. If you have read and enjoyed other Jennifer Johnstons (and I've loved her writing for forty years) you will enjoy this. If you're not familiar with her work, this is as good a place to start as any. Deceptively slight, this is a novel which punches well above its weight.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Otto Zappatore on 2 July 2012
Format: Paperback
The Christmas Tree by Jennifer Johnston is a moving subtle story about life and death, love and loss. "A moving and uplifting experience, full of pathos and beauty." (Independent, Ireland). It's beautifully rendered, both funny and sad. "I used to hate being young and yet I found no other time that was better." Read it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll be a wiser person by the time you finish the last page.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Christmas Tree 27 April 2012
By Kathy Silberfein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A beautiful, timeless, touching story of an incredibly independent Irish woman who is dying. The story shifts from flashhbacks to her current situation. This character will stay with you long after you close the book.
An exceptional book. 26 Nov 2013
By Tantechrissie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A small novel which is a giant in terms of characterisation, storyline and thought provoking issues. You will laugh and cry. You will think about death and dying, religious affiliation in Ireland, the Holocaust, friendship and love, families, goodness and finally hope. This is a wonderful book.
A wonderful Christmas surprise 7 Jan 2013
By Connecticut bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Our book group chose this novel as our December selection, and I was expecting something along the lines of a Hallmark made-for-TV Christmas movie. Not at all. Johnston's characters have depth. She explores many big themes: feminism, family, living and dying. The writing is beautiful, moving me to tears at several points, to laughter at others. I'm not sure why I haven't heard of Jennifer Johnston until now, but I am inspired to read more of her work.
Pathos and Grace, Beauty and Wisdom 30 Jun 2012
By J. L. Wexman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Christmas Tree by Jennifer Johnston is a moving subtle story about life and death, love and loss. "A moving and uplifting experience, full of pathos and beauty." (Independent, Ireland). It's beautifully rendered, both funny and sad. "I used to hate being young and yet I found no other time that was better." Read it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll be a wiser person by the time you finish the last page.
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