My first thought upon being asked to do this was, ‘Well, it has to be A Christmas Carol,’ and then I felt embarrassed for reasons I couldn’t quite put my finger on. THEN I looked it up and realised for the first time at the grand age of 41, that it’s (obviously) a novella not a shorty story. But, it would be wrong not to put it in here, because to me it had always been a short story.
It’s everything a piece of short fiction should be, when you’re eight, under your duvet, shivering with the pure brilliance of it, earnestly nodding at its meaning. I feel the same about it now though, and love it, without measure. I love it so much, and reread it every year at Christmas, and can’t imagine life without it.
Also, whenever I stand near an open window at night I think of this: The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. So, thanks for that, Dickens.
First published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843, and now available from so many places, including online, you’d find it in seconds