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A tragicomedy in verse which pits the joys of friendship and humour against the madness and melancholy of the festive season, by the much-celebrated Irish poet, Paul Durcan.

For most of us Christmas is the season of huge helpings of good food, good drink, and with luck, good cheer, as the rituals of cracker-pulling, present-giving and happy or sulphurous family reunions fizzle and bang through the long afternoon.

For anyone who has ever had too much of it, or felt out of it, or wanted to be out of it, or even succeeded in being out of it then been unexpectedly rescued by a good friend, this book-length poem contains a lifeline of humour and sanity in a world run seasonally mad.

It is a funny, subversive, melancholy, self-mocking conversation between two men - Paul and Frank - in the top storey flat of a Dublin apartment block; a Stations of Christmas under the influence of "woman-hunger". Once read, Christmas Day itself will never be the same again.

The volume also contains a second new work, "A Goose in the Frost", a tribute to Seamus Heaney on winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Reviews

[A]n intimate soul-searching, by turns painful and savagely funny

Dominic Cavendish, Independent

He is a master of minor tragedies and melancholy, self-mocking humour... It is a beautiful, poignant and wry piece of writing. The firm yet hesitant friendship between these two men is the most genuine note of goodwill you could come across in a whole month of Christmases

Maggie O'Farrel, Independent

Melancholy yet achingly funny

Observer

Like all first-class comedians, he is deadly serious

Terry Eagleton, Stand

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Formats & editions

  • EBook

    9781446484494

    September 30, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    96 pages

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  • Paperback

    9781860462887

    August 1, 2002

    Harvill Press

    96 pages

    RRP $21.99

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