Feature

Novel of the week

The Holiday Season by Michael Knight

The Holiday Season by Michael Knight (Grove, $18)

Amid the “seasonal avalanche” of holiday-themed books, Michael Knight’s slim new work of fiction may be the one best suited for serious readers, said Jacqueline Bliss in USA Today. Nobody writes better about “the country club set” of today’s South than the Alabama-born Knight, said John Sledge in the Alabama Press-Register. The two novellas he’s paired in The Holiday Season explore with insight and humor the family tensions and squabbles that this time of year is notorious for. Yet he holds a reader’s attention “without resorting to cheap devices and pyrotechnics.” In the title piece, said Maria Browning in the Nashville Scene, the “unfavored” adult son in a small Mobile, Ala., family spends Thanksgiving and Christmas trying to mediate between a first-born brother intent on playing host and their stubborn widowed father, who refuses to surrender old traditions. The second novella, Love at the End of the Year, follows a larger cast of Mobilians during their New Year’s Eve revelries. Both stories’ endings remain true to the way that life usually “defies our hopes.” In one of Knight’s biggest surprises, silly, debauched New Year’s “winds up being life-affirming, and filled with intense, if imperfect, joy.”

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