This novella could become another great Christmas story. It is set in Ireland in the 1980s and it is about a grown man who works hard to support his family of five daughters. The story is littered with his thoughts and memories of his upbringing as an illegitimate child who was taken on by a wealthy woman. His hopes, gratitudes, small acts of kindness and potential alternative lives: if only.
It is no coincidence that he receives A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens for Christmas one year, a book that acts as barometer of the poverty in Ireland at the time and comparisons to workhouses. In the build up to Christmas the story shows the concerns of getting deliveries on time, shopping, dreams and lots of small things that make a difference to people's lives.
A beautifully written book that is many ways could have been expanded into a longer novel, but in keeping it in its original format the tale takes on a concise theme. Indeed, the size fulfills the concept of small things. Brilliant.
Published by Faber & Faber on 19 October 2021 (ebook) 21 October (hardback).
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.