Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS - Xmas with the Exes

Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS - Xmas with the Exes

Article excerpt

'I only see radiators these days', announces one of the characters in this novel - 'You know, people who give out heat and warmth.' A radiator is a pretty good description of India Knight's Comfort and Joy (Fig Tree/ Penguin, £14.99), too: a book so kindly and funny and affectionate that you could probably warm your hands on it.

Miraculously, this is a feelgood story that manages not to be saccharine. Our heroine, Clara, may be nice, but she's also barbed, tough and clever: a thoroughly modern woman. The action takes place over three consecutive Yules, during which time Clara's one ex-husband is joined by a second, and we learn that a certain sadness in her youth is the motor driving her desire to make Christmas lovely for everyone. Ex number two and his brilliantly comic mother - a creation worthy of Alan Bennett - still join Clara's dotty and extended family for Christmas. …

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