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The Christmas Tree Paperback – 7 Oct 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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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: 12.7 x 1.5 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 616,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

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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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent read
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