A Child’s Christmas In Wales by Dylan Thomas, 1952
The magic trick:
Making prose flow like poetry
I’m still learning as a reader to appreciate beautiful language. The vast majority of what I single out as magic tricks on this blog tends toward character or plot. But even an idiot like me can’t miss the poetry of “A Child’s Christmas In Wales.” Some of the passages feel like paintings, with Thomas gorgeously filling the canvas with his memories of childhood, and all the wonders, high-jinx, and warmth of the holidays. It is a truly magical bit of nostalgia. And that’s quite a trick on Thomas’s part.
Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver. Ghosts whooed like owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the stairs and the gas meter ticked. And I remember that we went singing carols once, when there wasn’t the shaving of a moon to light the flying streets.