Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; read by Tim Curry (1843, 2010)

This year, I listened to A Christmas Carol instead of reading it, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  For a story that is 173 years old, it still reads extremely well.  That's especially true with a good narrator, and Tim Curry was very strong.

Ebenezer Scrooge is such a fully developed character.  Dickens makes us loathe him, then feel pity for him, and then feel frightened for him, and finally so very happy for him.  I particularly noticed how Dickens made us think about how "Scrooges" are made, not born.  Scrooge was not always "Scrooge" - events in his life made him the way he was.  And if events had gone differently, he may have grown up to be a different person. When the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to his nephew's house for Christmas, the singing makes Scrooge soften "more and more and thought that if he could have listened to it often, years ago, he might have cultivated the kindnesses of life for his own happiness with his own hands..."  Circumstance pushes and pulls the Scrooges of the world, but they also have free will to do as they wish.

Nothing really says Christmas like A Christmas Carol.  As I've said elsewhere, next to Luke, and maybe Rudolph, it's the most famous story of Christmas.

A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tim Curry's rendition of A Christmas Carolis exuberant and boisterous, a merry narration, God Bless Us Every One. After Luke, and maybe Rudolph, Dickens's morality play is probably the best known Christmas tale out there. Ebenezer Scrooge (as of this writing) is 173 years old, but still feels as fresh and alive as he did back in the early Victorian days. Dickens wrote a contemporary tale all those years ago; modern readers now are taken back in time. Life was harsh; although this isn't a story of social reform like some of Dickens other works, Victorian poverty and want creep into the tale here and there. But Christmas, feasting and singing and being with family and friends, wassail wassail, resting merry and decking the halls, and above all choosing the spirit of Christmas over Scroogery: that's what the story was about way back then, and still is.

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