(Kansas City, Missouri) - It's Christmas and, in Tom Averill's inventive new novel, A Carol Dickens Christmas, the title character's life is in major transition.
Carol's son Finn, a talented trumpet player, is about to leave for college. Her ex-husband, a real estate wheeler-dealer, wants to sell their properties in Kansas and move to Arizona. A wheelchair-bound friend, Laurence, has fallen in love with her. And Scraps, the family dog, is dying.
As her world spins out of control, Dickens seeks refuge in her singular research - on the use of the semicolon-and in her ritual of cooking the perfect series of Victorian holiday meals inspired by Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
Averill, a professor of English and writer-in-residence at Washburn University and an O. Henry Award winner, discusses his holiday-themed book on Sunday, December 14, 2014, at 2 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
In writing A Carol Dickens Christmas, Averill says he drew from Christmastime family road trips he took as a child from Topeka to Dallas - a "perfect amount of time" to read Dickens' timeless classic. Later, he traveled during the Christmas season to London to get a Dickensian feel for the holidays.
His book subtly evokes A Christmas Carol. As he did in a previous novel, Secrets of the Tsil Cafe, Averill intersperses his story with generous amounts of food. Recipes included.
Averill has written two additional books, rode and The Slow Air of Ewan MacPherson. He spoke at the Library in September 2013 as part of its Big Read initiative focusing on the classic Western novel True Grit, examining how Westerns have embraced coming-of-age themes and addressed issues of diversity and racism, violence and genocide, and justice.
Admission to his presentation is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore.