> Skip to content

The perfect gift: a collection of seven Christmas stories from the author of THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY & THE LOVE SONG OF MISS QUEENIE HENNESSY.

As read on Radio 4, seven linked stories set in the Christmas holidays - all as funny, joyous, poignant and memorable as Christmas should be:

A Faraway Smell of Lemon: The School Term has ended. It is almost Christmas but Binny, out last-minute shopping couldn't feel less like wishing glad tidings to all men. Ducking out of the rain she finds herself in the sort of shop she would never normally visit.

The Marriage Manual: Christmas Eve. Two parents endeavour to construct their son’s Christmas present from a DIY kit and in the process find themselves deconstructing their marriage.

Christmas at the Airport: A glitch in the system, travellers stranded and all sorts of lives colliding in the face of a sudden birth...

The Boxing Day Ball: Maureen has never been out with the local girls before. Who knew that a disco in the Village Hall could be life-changing?

A Snow Garden: Two little boys, dumped with their divorced father for his share of the Christmas holidays and none of them with a clue how to enjoy it.

I'll Be Home for Christmas The most famous boy in the world comes home hoping to escape the madness with a normal family Christmas.

Trees: As if Christmas wasn't wearing enough, now his elderly parent is asking for a hole in the ground … Father and son break old habits and plant a tree to mark the start of the new year.

Reviews

Full of bittersweet Christmas moments. A real gem.

Good Housekeeping

These stories are heartwarming.

Imogen Lycett Green, Daily Mail

Joyce is warm and very funny, and she has a merciless eye for those nightmare moments when weaknesses are exposed and everything is called into question.

Kate Saunders, The Times

The perfect tonic for tinsel-itis, [A Snow Garden] is laced with quietly devastating observations on love and marriage.

Hephzibah Anderson, Observer

As sparkling and Christmassy as a selection box.

Sunday Mirror

Rachel Joyce is one of the most sensitive but forensic archaeologists of everyday life. A Snow Garden is a powerful collection of loosely connected Christmas tales .. acutely observed. As many people reach panic mode, they will be a gentle reminder of what really matters at this time of year.

Patricia Nicol, Sunday Times

Each of these Christmas stories has wit and charm and holds a quirky surprise

Choice Magazine

Each of these Christmas stories has wit and charm and holds a quirky surprise

Choice Magazine

The perfect tonic for tinsel-itis, it’s laced with quietly devastating observations on love and marriage.

guardian

her first collection of stories; each has a wintry warmth, and the lightness of touch and emotional depth that marks all of Joyce’s work. Need another reason to get hold of it? It’s a beautiful little book, too, perfect to discover under wrapping paper and ribbon

Erica Wagner, Harper's Bazaar

IF you are on the hunt for a festive read that completely encapsulates the magic of Christmas without even a smidgen of schmaltz then Rachel Joyce’s new collection of short stories is just what you are looking for. These seven tales, which are cleverly interlinked, are set over a two-week period during Christmas and New Year....There is a sprinkling of otherworldliness that gives them a truly magical feel. This is the perfect book to curl up with in front of the fire this Christmas. The stories may be short but the emotional impact lasts long after you’ve finished the last page.

Daily Express

This collection compellingly captures what Joyce excels in evoking throughout her writing - the intimations of new beginnings in even the most painful ending.

Observer

Every word the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry writes is a bittersweet dream. Christmas music, drunken Santas and unrealistic expectations are all on the menu in these linked stories that stretch from the last day of school term all the way through to New Year’s Eve. There’s even a donkey and a baby…

Cathy Rentzenbrink, Stylist

Joyce is warm and very funny, and she has a merciless eye for those nightmare moments when weaknesses are exposed and everything is called into question

The Times

A collection of domestic, family tales, looping themselves warmly around Christmas rituals ... Heart-warming

Daily Mail

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781784162047

    November 14, 2016

    Black Swan

    224 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9780857523532

    November 2, 2015

    Doubleday

    224 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781473526471

    November 5, 2015

    Transworld Digital

    224 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks

Also by Rachel Joyce