‘Merry Christmas from Hegel’ by Anne Carson

I discovered this in The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, which suggests it’s a prose poem, though when Anne Carson talks about it she calls it an essay – and yet it could just as easily be a short story. Whatever it is, it’s four hundred and five words of perfection, with Carson managing to handbrake turn from desolate to comic to profound and back again, sometimes within the same sentence. (This may also be the only story that successfully uses its title as a final line.) It’s not published online but I recommend listening to her read it (from 3.15 onwards.) When I hear the bookshop audience’s silence I wonder if I’m alone in finding the story, and her deadpan delivery, very funny.

First published in Float, Jonathan Cape, 2016. Anthologised in The Penguin Book of The Prose Poem,  2018. Listen to it here

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