by William Wharton

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the idyllic setting of a lodge on a millpond in the French countryside, the narrator, Will, scrubs, sweeps, varnishes and lays a fire in preparation for his family's arrival on the day before Christmas. The next morning, driving through the snow to meet them, the litany of domestic and yuletide detail continues, along wth the rueful hint that this may be the last Christmas they will all spend together. Sure enough, once wife Loretta and the four children are assembled, each is given a chapter in which to spiel out individual woes. Loretta, who has remained sexually unsatisfied throughout 30 years of marriage, is having an affair, the married daughter wants a divorce, the unmarried one a baby, and the two sons some sort of center for their lives. All alternately mock and pity their old maid of a father, said to be a professor of philosophy but a dead ringer for a teacher of home ec, who, while his offspring are having their say, is lying awake agonizing over the fact that they have neglected to hang up their stockings. But miraculously, when they troop in to open their presents, there are the stockings, , hand-knitted, stuffed with presents designed to delight each recipient. Their provenance is never made clear in a book whose author (Birdy, Dad) otherwise finds it necessary to explain everything several times over, but never bothers to put flesh on his stick figures or write a line of authentic dialogue. (November 6)
Library Journal
This intimate family novel by the author of Birdy ( LJ 12/15/78) and Dad ( LJ 5/15/81) takes place during a few days around Christmas. At an old mill in rural France, philosophy teacher Will, wife Lor, and four nearly grown children reunite for the holidays. The scene and the season are so lovingly detailed that the novel's atmosphere is almost palpable, yet each family member brings to the festivities some personal trouble that he or she will try to resolve. As they struggle to make this a Christmas to remember, the people and their celebration come alive in an unusual, entertaining, heartwarming evocation of the magic, warmth, and underlying strains of family Christmas. Recommended. Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.

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McGraw-Hill Companies, The
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1st McGraw-Hill pbk. ed

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