Dickens, it's said, created the British image of Christmas.
It would be a ridiculous but interesting challenge to name the world's most successful or influential work of fiction, but if it were attempted, this novella would be a strong contender. Crafted with all the brilliant wit and imagery of which Dickens was capable, it chronicles the redemption of an aging skinflint, rendered bitter and cruel by his passion for money, to whom life has become a trudge towards the grave.
Joy and love Ebenezer Scrooge has barred from his life, and for this, as his dead partner's ghost warns him, he is doomed to wander the Earth after death, chained by his hoarded loot. Yet he is to be rescued by the spirit - spirits actually: three of them - that burn hot and bright with forgiveness and hope amid the snow and of this darkest, final month.
Dickens wrote this tale as a protest in 1843, against the even then growing obsession with material wealth, and neglect of life's freely given riches. Tnd today its message is as strong and apt as ever. To me, Christmas has not arrived until I've seen it told yet again in one of its many film adaptations, be it the black & white 1951 version starring Alastair Sim, or one of the later versions in which George C. Scott, Albert Finney, Patrick Stewart and many others have portrayed the old miser. This rich and unashamed snatch at our heartstrings never fails to pluck mine.
Graham Worthington, Author, Wake of the Raven