Monday, December 14, 2009

Auggie Wren's Christmas Story

I'm back from Paradise - turquoise sea glimpsed through skinny manuka and beech trees, golden beaches, ineffable bush tracks, waterfalls, fantails around my tent ... no internet, no cell, no TV, no alcohol, no showers ... swimming in the sea as the sunrises, dancing on the sand in the evening, kayaking in the open water, marvelling at the courage and curiosity of children and the strength and patience of the best sort of adult  ... and I've discovered the rest of the world has moved a little closer to Christmas....

Now there are presents to buy, menus to plan ...  and books to review... It's a bit of a ramble but nonetheless here's the link to a review I did today on radio about this lovely book - Paul Auster's Auggie Wren's Christmas Story. Auster, with his writer characters and his stories inside stories, always ties me up in knots when I have to explain them, and this book was trickier than usual, despite being a slight 41 pages long. This is because it has had two previous incarnations: as a short story in the NY Times on Xmas Day in 1990, and as part of the marvellous movie Smoke which director Wayne Wang and Paul Auster collaborated on. It's one of my favourite movies - I blogged on it here. In fact, this story has also been published in book form once before, but this new edition is illustrated with verve by Argentinian illustrator Isol and is charmingly produced.

As I said in the review, this is an unsentimental Christmas story about truth and lies, giving and taking, trust and goodness. It's also about taking the time to see ... and to be. A lovely gift - the sort you'd get out each Christmas and read and be renewed by. But then again, I was a fan before I'd even opened it.

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