‘The Christmas Books’

DICKENS, Charles: The Christmas Books — A Christmas Carol · The Chimes · The Cricket on the Hearth. London: Penguin Books, 1994.

‘Along with The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth, A Christmas Carol celebrates the joys of the festive season. Each of these books is politically provocative and aims to stimulate the reader’s pity and charity for the poor, but the tone is so intimate and the style so humorous that poverty and ignorance yield to generosity and compassion.’

The cover shows a detail from an illustration by Arthur Rackham

The cover shows a detail from an illustration by Arthur Rackham

Having seen all kinds of remakes and interpretations and allusions to A Christmas Carol, but having never read the actual novel, it came as obvious that I should acquire the present compilation. This story is much richer and deeper — and darker — than any version I had been exposed to before, obviously. This prevented the reading from boredom, which doesn’t mean I finally approve of the unrealistic change of Scrooge at the end.

Reading The Chimes was extremely exhausting to me as there’s way too much description and very little happens. It reminded me of David Copperfield, which I put down because of this endless and empty description. The Cricket on the Hearth was an improvement to the second story for it had padding-free descriptions and a noticeably unusual yet simple plot with unexpected turns. I’m still not here nor there about Dickens, though.

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