Title: Χριστουγεννιάτικο Δέιπνο
Publishing House: Νάρκισσος
Date of Publication: November 2012
Rating: 5 stars
‘’…Paris with the snow falling. Paris with the big charcoal braziers outside the cafes, glowing red. At the cafe tables, men huddled, their coat collars turned up, while they finger glasses of grog Americain and the newsboys shout the evening papers.
The buses rumble like green juggernauts through the snow that sifts down in the dusk. White house walls rise through the dusky snow. Snow is never more beautiful than in the city. It is wonderful in Paris to stand on a bridge across the Seine looking up through the softly curtaining snow past the grey bulk of the Louvre, up the river spanned by many bridges and bordered by the grey houses of old Paris to where Notre Dame squats in the dusk.
It is very beautiful in Paris…at Christmas time.’’
One of the perks of celebrating Christmas according to both calendars (because of my partner who has Serbian and Croatian roots, is equally opinionated and raised to follow the Balkan traditions religiously) is that there is always a little more time (and excuses) to read one more Christmas stories collection. This volume contains stories by some of the most important writers, dedicated to the wonder of the Christmas dinner. But is it a happy occasion at all times?
The collection contains one of the most beautiful passages written by Ernest Hemingway and of course I’m referring to Christmas at the Roof of the World. There is also one of my favourite Christmas stories, The Gift of the Magi by O.Henry. Memories of Christmas Past can be found in Washington Irving’s musings and Henry James takes us to Paris during 1876. Amalie Skram, one of the most important naturalist writers and a voice of freedom and equality for women, breaks our heart with her Karens Jul. Nathaniel Hawthorne is also present, inviting us to The Christmas Banquet we wouldn’t actually want to attend, and Dylan Thomas narrates A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Alphonse Daudet introduces us to a strange priest and two miserable vagabonds and Robert Lewis Stevenson takes us on a Christmas adventure. Gilbert Keith Chesterton shows us his adoration for Christmas and Stephen Crane writes about A Christmas Dinner Won In Battle.
This year’s collections were spectacular. Here’s to an equally exciting 2019.