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A Child’s Christmas in Williamsburg

A Child’s Christmas in Williamsburg

By Joseph Nicolello

82 pp

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About the Book

Is there any middle-ground for Christmastime, or must it be either a time of bliss or sorrow? Caitlin and Sarah McGrady are in the midst of their first Christmas together without their husband/father, and they will soon find out. Not only is the broken vow of marriage an agony in its own right; it raises, like the holidays, greater questions: a “winning” and a “losing” side, the disintegration of things once set in stone, tipped scales of responsibility, the specter of poverty, how to “go back on one’s word” in the presence of a child one seeks neither to hurt nor deceive. Moving, with a curious mix of family members, from Christmas Eve in Manhattan into Christmas Day in Caitlin’s sparse Williamsburg apartment, A Child’s Christmas in ­Williamsburg discloses, through an examination of the first coming last, and the last coming first, how our issues are less modern than they are recurring aspects of our ever-present origins. It is about childhood and parenthood, the steadfast rejection of rampant materiality, and a vindication of life and letters. And it is a prose poem of the first order to New York City.


“Joseph Nicolello’s A Child’s Christmas in Williamsburg is a multifaceted gem. Part panegyric to New York City, part celebration of the most beloved time of the liturgical year, part paean to the enchanted world of childhood wherein one’s dreams can and do come true, the novella charms readers with the poignant story of seven-year-old Sarah and her mother as they celebrate their first Christmas together after divorce. Nicolello captures the electric energy of New York, the air of wild expectation, and the boundless promise Christmas holds out for humankind—all made manifest in the yearnings of a child for the simplest of gifts: faith, hope, and love. In the great tradition of Dylan Thomas, Isak Dinesan, and Betty Smith, A Child’s Christmas offers us a luminous portrait of imperfect people in an imperfect place pondering the impossible perfection that every now and then miraculously becomes ours.”


author of Still Pilgrim (Paraclete 2017) and Andalusian Hours: Poems from the Porch of Flannery O’Connor (Paraclete 2020)

“A charming New York Christmas story of the hardship and love of a seven-year-old girl and her mother. They are unaware that the material gifts of Christmas only last but a short time. But, the love and light of God is endless and everlasting, as reminded to us each and every Christmas.”


Executive Director, Order of Malta, American Association

“Written with the imaginative wonder of childhood, seasoned by the weariness of adulthood, A Child’s Christmas in Williamsburg is a Christmas story for our own age, an age troubled by disappointment and confusion, yet still hopeful for redemption.”


Director, The Center for Sophiological Studies

About the Author

Joseph Nicolello is the author of several forthcoming books written in his early and mid-twenties before turning his aesthetic interests into a life of scholarship, research, and professing. He is the author of a three-volume Künstlerroman forthcoming late 2020/early 2021 (Until the Sun Breaks Down, 1,450 pages, Wipf and Stock Publishers), as well as a non-fiction text on Flannery O’Connor’s literary theory, Jacques Maritain, and medieval philosophy, forthcoming from Angelico in 2021. A Child's Christmas in Williamsburg is the first installment of the New York City Novella Tetralogy: Brooklyn/Winter, Queens/Spring, Bronx/Summer, Manhattan/Autumn.

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