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A very disappointing collection of short stories
on 6 July 2014
This is a very disappointing book, even for a fan who has read and reread all of her other books. First of all, it's mis-titled. It's a book of 8 short stories published in various magazines between 1928 and 1942, most of which have nothing to do with Christmas.The stories that do involve High Rising with Tony Morland and George Knox as key characters seem to be caricatures of caricatures. And "The Private View" I found incomprehensible. I really enjoyed only two: "Shakespeare Did Not Dine Out," which spoofs dinner parties in his plays, and "A Nice Day in Town," which is about the frustrations of life in England in 1942 when you could buy almost nothing and none of the fish seemed fresh.
I bought this book having been warned by Amazon reviewers that it was short and not her best work. But being a fan, I bought it anyway. And I'm sorry I did. Most of the stories read as if Thirkell was contracted to write for a magazine and had to come up with something to meet a deadline. If you must own everything AT wrote, then I guess like me you will buy it. But if you have never read anything of hers, please, please do not start here. Get one of her earliest novels which are simply delightful.