A Lot Like Christmas: Stories by Connie Willis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've always been a big fan of Connie Willis and so I couldn't really find any fault in reading an actual Christmas story (or stories) EVEN on XMAS if it was coming from her. Sometimes you've simply got to pick your battles, and Connie Willis is like the John Mclaine of Xmas Stories.
I'm not saying she strangles Xmas with a chain or uses wildly inappropriate western sayings. I mean, she could, I'm sure, but that isn't what happens here. She might get a bit angry at It's a Wonderful Life, however, so all these lines do blur.
I suppose the one thing I love most about these is how Connie Willis's storytelling skill is nearly perfect no matter the sub-genre she twists it. I mean, these Xmas stories are all genuinely uplifting while avoiding sentimentality, very critical and humorous in equal amounts, and a great number of them are filled with the dead or futuristic worlds or even a murder mystery involving apes.
Yes, apes. Merry Xmas!
Above all, every one of these stories is easy as hell to read, are down-to-earth, full of fantastic human consequences, and is full to the brim with humor. I won't say that any of them are knock-down brilliant... but in terms of reading a master storyteller who knows her craft and has well-researched probably EVERYTHING about Xmas from stories to movies to poetry from a lifelong obsession, she can't be beat. She covers all the angles, from dark revenge stories to romantic comedies to murder mysteries to time and space traveling Aramaic-speakers to aliens in a hunt for JUST THE RIGHT GREETING to a VERY white Xmas.
And I have to agree with her. It's a Wonderful Life is FLAWED as hell. :)
I never read the other collection of Xmas stories, which might be a blessing in disguise. Even so, there are five new ones in this book. Either way, it doesn't really matter. I can read her stuff all day long. :)
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!
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