Comfort and Joy: A Novel

Comfort and Joy: A Novel

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by India Knight
     
 

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If Bridget Jones had two ex-husbands, three children, and invited her entire extended family over for Christmas...

It's December 23, and Clara Dunphy is running around Oxford Street like a chicken with its head cut off trying to pick up a few last- minute bits and bobs." Despite the frenzy, the twice-divorced mother of three loves Christmas and always

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Overview

If Bridget Jones had two ex-husbands, three children, and invited her entire extended family over for Christmas...

It's December 23, and Clara Dunphy is running around Oxford Street like a chicken with its head cut off trying to pick up a few last- minute bits and bobs." Despite the frenzy, the twice-divorced mother of three loves Christmas and always wants to make it perfect. A challenge even in the best of times, but particularly when "family" means an extended network of in-laws, out-laws, ex-stepfathers, and hangers-on, totaling sixteen. Is the madness of Christmas really worth it? Clara is a witty, blackly funny everywoman who will win over anyone who has ever longed to shut out the holidays with "a giant martini . . . and some olives."



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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sunday Times columnist and YA writer Knight (The Dirty Bits for Girls) creates a space for musings on love, family, and the simultaneous trials and delights of the holiday season in her perpetually witty first novel for adults. Readers follow Londoner Clara Dunphy née Hutt through multiple relationships over the course of three Christmases as she searches for the perfect celebration and looks for answers to her own murky family history. While the setting and tone change from Christmas to Christmas, that unerringly familiar combination of glow and chaos, what remains constant is a cast of lovable characters, from Pat, Clara’s Northern Irish mother-in-law, who insists on speaking in an offensive combination of slang and Spanish on a family trip to Morocco, to Clara’s free-spirited stepsisters. Dotting the landscape are Clara’s questions about the biological father she never knew but can’t stop thinking about. Although there’s little in the way of plot and the extended family can get Rockwellian, Knight makes up for it with well-paced dialogue and amusing and insightful anecdotes. The author captures the spirit of the season while giving us a glimpse into one modern family’s struggle with children, marital turmoil, and materialism. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Not everything gets wrapped up in a neat little bow in Knight's (My Life on a Plate) refreshingly sharp take on domestic bliss. The reader first meets Clara Dunphy's blended London clan in 2009. A cocktail-fueled discussion of men and women, biological clocks, and the myth of the perfect marriage foreshadows the subsequent two Christmases. Women's fiction with bite.
Kirkus Reviews

Knight's favorite heroine (My Life on a Plate, 2001) returns, now remarried and juggling a hectic mixed family and a potential new love over the course of three consecutive holiday seasons.

It's two days before Christmas, and Clara Dunphy takes a break for a champagne cocktail during a last-minute shopping trip.Unexpectedly, she meets a handsome stranger who asks her to stay for a drink.Clara is still married, to a choreographer named Sam, and has a daughter with him and two teenaged sons with her first husband, Robert.But things with Sam have been rocky lately, and Clara can't quite imagine them growing old together.Nonetheless, she returns home to a hectic dinner involving both Sam and Robert, the children, a critical mother, a dottering mother-in-law and several friends in complicated states of single-hood and couple-hood.The brood has a lot to drink and things get awkward, though nothing much actually happens, somewhat emblematic of the novel as a whole.Fast-forward a year.Sam and Clara's marriage has indeed dissolved, and she has rekindled her relationship with the stranger from the previous Christmas, though everyone except said stranger is gathered again for another dinner at her house.Clara finally seems rightly concerned about the effect of all this on her children, which harkens back to issues from her own childhood (though she did have a consistent father figure, her mother is now on her fourth husband, which clearly haunts her).On the third Christmas featured, Clara takes the show on the road, embarking on a family holiday to Morocco. And what of the stranger? Stay tuned. Clara loves Christmas, and it's easy to see why—as long as she can keep all the disjointed people in her life together, they will remain, in the best possible ways, a family.

Plotless, though clearly warm-hearted holiday fun.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101552711
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/27/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,036,685
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

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