The Christmas Kid Reviews

November 1, 2012
by Tom Callahan

Pete Hamill grew up in the streets and tenements of immigrant, working-class Brooklyn, NY in the years during and after World War II. He went on to become a columnist, scriptwriter, editor, bestselling novelist and author. 

With THE CHRISTMAS KID, Hamill cements his place as one of the greatest American writers who ever lived. This collection of 36 short stories reads like a panoramic novel of a Lost World. It’s a place filled with vitality and nostalgia. The people inhabiting these pages deal with love, loss and fate as best as they can. This is an impossible collection to put down once you start it. It’s Pete Hamill at the absolute top of his game.

And here is the amazing thing about these stories: 33 of them were written and first published in the most impermanent medium of them all --- a newspaper. In the early 1980s Hamill was working as a columnist for New York Daily News. He had the idea of bringing short fiction back to the newspaper. From the vantage point of the vanishing world of newspapers today, the 1980s were something of a Golden Age. Papers actually had their own Sunday supplement magazines. Most independent newspaper Sunday supplements are gone now, additions to “the lost city of memory” in Hamill’s words.

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