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A Christmas Carol Revisited - Phil Rowlands - A Review

2013-11-24
By: Ceri Shaw
Posted in: Book Reviews



A Christmas Carol Revisited - Phil Rowlands

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"Ebenezer Clinton Scrooge III presides over a vast media empire from his base in New York City but this Christmas Eve his world is about to descend into chaos. At the centre of the nightmare is a girl with auburn hair." A 21st century re-imagining of the Dickens classic by Welsh writer Phil Rowlands.

Buy A Christmas Carol Revisited here'

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Charles Dickens ''A Christmas Carol'' was an enormously popular and influential book. Indeed there are those who claim that many of our current Christmas traditions and observances are directly attributable to its influence. However that may be ( and you can read more on that subject here and here ) Welsh author Phil Rowlands has gifted us with a mdern re-imagining of this classic tale and a superb seasonal read.

''A Christmas Tale Revisited'' does not concern itself to follow the structure of the Dickens original. Instead of five 'staves' it is written in four parts and there are many departures from the original story line. It does, however, perfectly preserve the spirit of the original. An attempt has also been made to imitate the style of Dickensian prose which, in this reviewers opinion, adds to the books charm.

We first encounter our modern day Scrooge being driven to his luxury NY penthouse apartment in his chauffer driven limousine :-

"Through tinted windows Ebenezer Clinton Scrooge III watched the bustling side-walk crowds slip silently into the waiting night like shadowy grey wraiths spirited away on a bitter December wind. The gaudy festive lights served only to emphasize their desperate anonymity. Scrooge leaned back into the plush leather upholstery of the limousine, comforted by the fact that he no longer needed to mingle with the madding crowd."

Upon arriving home to discover a ''common beggar'' on his doorstep Scrooge reveals his take on the Christmas spirit:-

"He smiled, this was no hired assassin sent on a mission to destroy, only a common beggar chancing his arm, or what remained of it. A diseased symptom of the times. New York was infested with such hopeless individuals seeking solace or oblivion in alcohol or drugs, authors of their own destruction, and as such deserving of no sympathy or special favors. Still, they never usually surfaced in this district preferring instead to haunt the more stagnant cess-pits of the city. Perhaps the fact it was Christmas Eve had emboldened this particular specimen into venturing further afield in the false hope that honest citizens would be more inclined to lunatic displays of charity many being so imbued with festive spirits they would carelessly part with their hard earned dollars."

In the course of the many visitations and revelations which follow, Scrooge''s miserly worldview is shaken to the core and his ultimate transformation and redemption are assured. It is a major strength of this book that we learn much of the forces and circumstances which moulded Scrooge''s character and made him what he became. In many ways he was a victim of the same uncaring and callous attitudes which he espouses at the beginning of the story. But, to reveal any more detail would be to spoil the plot.

Phil Rowlands has created a Mr Bah Humbug for the 21st century in Ebenezer Clinton Scrooge III and his story is as pitiful and ultimately heart warming as that of his nineteenth century predecessor. In short, whether it be for your own reading pleasure or as a Christmas gift we cannot recommend "A Christmas Carol Revisited" too highly.

Ceri Shaw

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