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Christmas in Austin

Benjamin Markovits

This luminous family saga from one of Granta‘s Best Young British Novelists is a must for fans of Anne Tyler and Jonathan Franzen.

Date Published
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‘A novel that everyone should read before they face their own family Christmas.’ The Times

When the four Essinger children gather in Austin for Christmas, they all bring their news. Nathan wants to become a federal judge. Susie’s husband has taken a job in England. Jean has asked her boyfriend and (once-married) boss to meet her family. Paul has broken up with Dana, mother of their son Cal.

But their parents have plans, too, and Liesel, the materfamilias, has invited Dana and Cal to stay, hoping to bring them back together. As the week unfolds, each of the Essingers has to confront the tensions and conflicts between old families and new.

From one of Granta‘s Best Young British Novelists, Christmas in Austin beautifully explores the deep-rooted division between the world we grow up in, and the life we make for ourselves.

Critic Reviews

I adored it … It gives you such an extraordinary sense of family life, so much better than one usually gets.

Lisa Appignanesi, Observer
Critic Reviews

One of those rich, immersive novels that leaves you wanting to WhatsApp all the characters when you have finished . . . Markovits treats his characters tenderly and his dialogue is achingly realistic . . . I was engrossed by the chewy relationship dynamics. It’s a novel that everyone should read before they face their own family Christmas.

The Times
Critic Reviews

A loving and nuanced portrait of a family's myriad functions.

The New Yorker
Critic Reviews

Utterly absorbing . . . dramatises the chaos and claustrophobia of prolonged family gatherings.

Max Liu, Financial Times
Critic Reviews

Markovits has transposed onto this novel his trademark ear for natural conversation and microscopic attention to detail, producing an astute account of the complexities of human behaviour and emotion.

The Arts Desk
Critic Reviews

A subtle, complex, grown-up study of a modern family. There’s something pleasurable and astute to be found on every page.

Literary Review

Benjamin Markovits grew up in Texas, London and Berlin. He is the author of eleven novels, including Either Side of Winter, You Don’t Have To Live Like This, and Christmas in Austin. He has published essays, stories, poetry and reviews on subjects ranging from the Romantics to American sports in the Guardian, Granta, The Paris Review and The New York…

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