EVERY NOW AND THEN, by dint of its cover, a book leaps out at me from that ever-growing pile known as ‘Reviews Pending’. This is one of them, a perennial Christmas classic given a new lease of life by St Mark’s Press, with artwork by Roger Langridge that would do any Discworld novel proud if Terry Pratchett should ever find himself in need of a new illustrator: just the job, methinks, to liven up any bookseller’s Christmas window display.
What can I say about the story that hasn’t been said before? Not much, I suspect: it’s too well known, Scrooge’s immortal words — Bah, humbug! — burnt into the consciousness of every generation since the tale was first written. It’s a haunting story of transformation, of selfishness overturned, self re-examined and generosity reborn; and that last point alone makes this edition especially noteworthy as £1 from each copy sold goes to Traidcraft, capturing something of the spirit of the book in a way that cheaper editions inevitably miss.
At £9.95 it’s perhaps a little expensive as a stocking-filler; but if you’re looking for an edition of A Christmas Carol that stands out from the crowd, this is it — and as noted by publisher Simon Danes in the accompanying info, A Christmas Carol is a book that goes on selling all year around, not just at Christmas: one you can hardly go wrong with, either as a bookseller or a gift-giver.
A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens, illustrated by Roger Langridge
St Mark’s Press, August 2013
Available to the trade direct from St Mark’s Press (trade ordering info) or via Bertrams/Gardners.