Have you ever wished you could transcend the pages of your favourite book, to reach out to your beloved fictional characters?
Often, we want to extend a hand, stand ready for an embrace, or tell them to stop what they’re doing immediately. But what if you could gift them something tangible? Have a parcel appear in front of them containing what we think they might need, or most desire: perhaps a couple bars of chocolate for Orwell’s young Winston Smith, or some Jane Austen instead of Shakespeare for Huxley’s impressionable savage?
Here at Penguin, we wondered: What if we could be secret Santas to a bunch of our favourite fictional characters, with no limit on price or triviality? Some gifts may shift the path of an entire story, and others may only resolve the conflict of a single page, but it's the thought that counts, right?
The City of Light for Kitty Pong/Tai/Bing from Crazy Rich Asians
She wants the world; what if we could give Kitty Pong/Tai/Bing the city of Paris? For someone who’s always trying to fit in with the old-money Singaporean crew and never quite achieving it, owning Paris would certainly give her a leg up . The circle of ladies who’d previously turned their noses up at her would suddenly be forced to start sucking up to her as owner of a city that is home to some of the world’s best ateliers – lest they want to be seen in sub-par haute couture (which for them might just be a fate worse than death).
A football for the boys of Lord of The Flies
Any armchair philosopher can tell you that humankind has sublimated its most violent, warlike tendences into sports. Think about it: we dress ourselves in the colours of our local tribes, and go to see our club ‘decimate’ theirs. So if we’re pulling names for Literary Secret Santa and get Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Simon or any other kid on the island, first thing we’re doing is sending a football their way. If it just ends up punctured atop a pike? Well, you can’t say we didn’t try.
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Image: Alicia Fernandes / Penguin.