Treasury of Bizarre Christmas Stories by Fiza Pathan is a collection of original short stories with Christmas as their focus. Pathan has tried to bring old Christmas charm to stories that are a little different from the usual light-heartedness we link with the festive season. She has included references to popular hymns, Christian stories as well as nods to traditional Christmas tales which would make it a great read this festive season.
However, the main problem with Treasury of Bizarre Christmas Stories is that they are not bizarre. While there are some unique stories like “Island of Christmas, “where Jesus flies a helicopter to save a man from a deserted island; they are not memorable. There are ghosts, witches, and murders, but only because Pathan was trying to give us something new. She was able to bring strong Christian values throughout the stories, and that will ring well with readers. However, the target audience is unidentifiable, and the stories are very formulaic.
Treasury of Bizarre Christmas Stories is written in a very ‘old style’ with the use of phrases such as “poppycock “and “mammy” throughout the stories. While this could be a nod to Charles Dickens (who Pathan quotes in the beginning), it adds a heaviness to the text drowning out the imaginative stories. This is a real pity as Pathan has some great stories hidden among the stylistic issues which make this collection almost difficult to finish.
Overall, Treasury of Bizarre Christmas Stories tries to give us a twist on what a Christmas story should be. There is a blend of Christmas cheer with bizarre circumstances that trickle across the 14 stories. It is a nod to the old while bringing new stories forward. Sadly, the stories are not “exciting “enough to make their way into your Christmas stocking this year.
Originally critiqued by the Authors Talk About It team.