Skipping Christmas: Christmas with The Kranks

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9780099559986: Skipping Christmas: Christmas with The Kranks

Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That's just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they'll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the snowman; they won't be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren't even going to have a tree. They won't need one, because come December 25 they're setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences - and isn't half as easy as they'd imagined.

A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that has become part of our holiday tradition.

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Review:

John Grisham has turned a satirical eye on the overblown ritual of the festive season, and the result is Skipping Christmas, a modest but funny novel about the tyranny of December 25. Grisham's story revolves around a typical middle-aged American couple, Luther and Nora Krank. On the first Sunday after Thanksgiving they wave their daughter Blair off to Peru to work for the Peace Corps, and suddenly realise that "for the first time in her young and sheltered life Blair would spend Christmas away from home".

Luther Krank sees his daughter's Christmas absence as an opportunity. An accountant, Luther quickly estimates that "a year earlier, the Luther Krank family had spent $6,100 on Christmas", and had "precious little to show for it". Luther makes an executive decision, telling his wife, friends and neighbours that "we won't do Christmas". Instead, Luther books a 10-day Caribbean cruise. All goes well until people get wind of the Kranks' subversive scheme. Everyone, from Christmas card salesmen to horrified neighbours, besieges the couple with questions; what about the Christmas party, carols and the erection of Frosty the Snowman? Things start to turn nasty in the local neighbourhood.

Grisham builds up a funny but increasingly terrifying picture of how the tightknit community turn on the Kranks, who find themselves under increasing pressure to conform. As the tension mounts, will they ever manage to board their plane on December 25? Skipping Christmas is Grisham-lite, with none of the serious drama of earlier books such as The Pelican Brief, but a funny poke at the craziness of Christmas. --Jerry Brotton

Review:

"Grisham may well be the best American storyteller writing today" (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Grisham is an absolute master" (The Washington Post)

"You can take the adventure out of Grisham, but you can’t take Grisham out of his adventures . . . an impressive read" (The Observer)

"A great story-teller" (Daily Telegraph)

"A giant of the thriller genre" (Time Out)

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