A Victorian classic that has been told and retold so many times. You don’t even have to have read it. There have been countless adaptations for stage and screen. For stage and screen. Even for the Muppets.
I can understand why.
It’s the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old man whose only concern is his money and his business. Nothing else matters.
On Christmas Eve Scrooge is visited by the ghost of the man who, in life was his business partner. Jacob Marley. Since his death Marley has been doomed to wander the earth, weighed down by heavy chains of his own making. And now he has come to warn Scrooge that he must mend his ways if he is to avoid the same fate.
During the night Scrooge is visited by three more spirits: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. They show him scenes from his past. Scenes from the world around him. And scenes of a future that will come to pass if Scrooge carries on as he has in the past.
Scrooge realises that he must change his life. That he wants to change his life …
A Christmas Carol is a very short book, and that it is very, very readable. I read it from start to finish late last night.
I loved it when I first read it, years ago, and I still love it now.
And it is well worth reading, no matter how many adaptations you have seen, no matter how well you know the story.
Dickens tells the story perfectly. His prose is so rich and evocative, and the narrator held me from start to finish. There was always a lovely image, a wonderful turn of phrase to appreciate.
Many things were so very familiar and could have felt like clichés, but they didn’t. Because they were so completely right.
The story draws out emotions without ever becoming sentimental. It teeters on the brink sometimes but, for me, Dickens gets away with it because his heart is in the right place.
I understood Scrooge’s journey.
And I loved visiting Victorian London at Christmas time.
I suspect I’ll be going back again this time next year …