For most of us Christmas is the season of huge helpings of good food, good drink, and with luck, good cheer, as the rituals of cracker-pulling, present-giving and happy or sulphurous family reunions fizzle and bang through the long afternoon.
For anyone who has ever had too much of it, or felt out of it, or wanted to be out of it, or even succeeded in being out of it then been unexpectedly rescued by a good friend, this book-length poem contains a lifeline of humour and sanity in a world run seasonally mad.
It is a funny, subversive, melancholy, self-mocking conversation between two men - Paul and Frank - in the top storey flat of a Dublin apartment block; a Stations of Christmas under the influence of "woman-hunger". Once read, Christmas Day itself will never be the same again.
The volume also contains a second new work, "A Goose in the Frost", a tribute to Seamus Heaney on winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.
[A]n intimate soul-searching, by turns painful and savagely funny
He is a master of minor tragedies and melancholy, self-mocking humour... It is a beautiful, poignant and wry piece of writing. The firm yet hesitant friendship between these two men is the most genuine note of goodwill you could come across in a whole month of Christmases
Melancholy yet achingly funny
Like all first-class comedians, he is deadly serious