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BY JEANETTE WINTERSON
The festive season has arrived and this lovely nostalgic read from Jeanette Winterson will certainly get you in the right holiday spirit. A beautifully arranged book, it comes with 12 magical winter short stories, each one accompanied with a personal favourite Christmas recipe. There is even a recipe for Winterson’s mulled wine which could be a great addition for your December book club meet!
Winterson begins with a quick synopsis on how Christmas has changed over the years and similarly concludes with her own personal Christmas message. The twelve short stories are a mixture of divine inspiration, ghost stories, magical surprises and the retelling of Christmas folklores through a different voice. All the stories have their own individual message and celebrate the unexpected with a good mix of joyfulness.
One of the Den’s favourites is the first story, Spirit of Christmas. ‘Why had we learned to hurry through every day when every day was all we had?’' A couple leaving for the country on Christmas Eve are stopped by ‘The Spirit of Christmas.’ As they are coerced into handing over all their presents, food and Christmas supplies, they realise that what really matters is one another.
Another favourite is The Lion, The Unicorn and Me which tells the birth of Jesus through the eyes of the donkey whose muzzle is turned to gold by an angel’s foot as he brayed to celebrate the birth of a baby in a stable. And The SnowMama who comes alive only to those who believe.
The recipes have a personal connection for Winterson with her literary friends and family such as Ruth Rendell’s red cabbage and her Dad’s sherry trifle and the background to each one is heart-felt and touching.
Winterson’s narrative is that Christmas is a time to stop, reflect on what is important in life, and share. It is also a time for wonderment and belief. For those of you who enjoy Christmas, there couldn't be a better choice for your December Book Club read.
The Den recently reviewed Frankissstein by the same author – a very different but brilliant read about Artificial Intelligence.
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