A Christmas Carol
, by Charles Dickens, is one of my favourite books of all time, and never off my bookshelf. First published in December 1843 it was an instant success, and has remained so ever since. The story is simple, and yet brilliant. It’s the tale of a bitter old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, and a life-changing transformation that comes about when he’s visited by four Spirits over the course of one very creepy Christmas Eve. It’s a wonderfully heart-warming, yet deliciously spooky tale, if ever two such contradictory descriptions belonged in the same sentence. This is Dickens at his best. He was both a master storyteller and a master of characterisation. Indeed, the characters of this book are so well known to us all through endless television and movie adaptions – from the joyous Fezziwigs (my personal favourites) to the ailing Tiny Tim, and the put-upon clerk, Bob Cratchet – we have perhaps become just a little too familiar with them.
This is ghostly fantasy storytelling of the very highest order. And while the book may well be over a hundred and seventy years old, its language and simple structure means that it is still easily read today. It’s short, effectively a novella, and if originally written for adults I’m certain it will appeal to readers of all ages.
So come on, it’s Christmas, forget the movie adaptions and take a look at the original book. It will reward you. Or why not make this your family Christmas ghost story and a ‘live’ event? Switch off the television/laptop/cell-phone. Huddle around the Christmas tree – mulled wine and sweet mince pies in hand – and give yourselves a real treat!
Merry Christmas everyone…