Ever wonder what happened to Scrooge?
So have these authors.
Recent literary sequels to A Christmas Carol
First published in 1843, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has become a much-beloved holiday classic, a tale of moral redemption that echoes the spiritual essence of Christmas itself. Dickens wraps up the story with two short paragraphs telling us that sickly Tiny Tim survives and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge becomes renowned for his newfound goodness--basically a "happily ever after" ending--but he provides no detail on what happens to any of the characters. What follows is left to the imagination of readers... and it seems some writers, as well.
Following the every-good-story-deserves-a-sequel idea, a number of ambitious authors have penned their own versions of what befell Scrooge and company. Ranging from Internet stories to best-selling novels, several different works have picked up the characters and events of Dickens' classic to spin new tales for the story's aftermath. Here are but a few:
Timothy Cratchit's Christmas Carol, 1917: A Sequel to the Charles Dickens Classic (Dickens World, 1998) by Dale Powell. In this version, actor-author Dale Powell imagines an elderly "Tiny Tim" as a wealthy immigrant living in America. His grandson has gone to Europe to fight in World War I, leaving 81-year-old Timothy to brood over the sadness and injustices of the world. On a lonely Christmas Eve in 1917, he recalls the memory of the man who saved his life as a child, and experiences some spiritual visitations of his own.
The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge (Ohio State University Press, 2001) by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita. This novel offers a uniquely philosophical take on the Scrooge mythology. A professor of politics at New York University, Bruce Bueno De Mesquita sets his tale in the afterlife with Ebenezer Scrooge literally on trial to determine if he merits entry into Paradise. Was he truly a changed man? Or was he just frightened by a vision of death into trying to buy his way to heaven? With wit and insight, Bueno De Mesquita provides a distinct spin on Scrooge's wicked ways and subsequent conversion.
Scrooge & Cratchit (scrooge-and-cratchit.com, 2002) by Matt McHugh. Beginning seven years after the events of the original, web author/blogger Matt McHugh's short story features many of the familiar characters. Bob Cratchit is now Scrooge's partner in business, taking the place of the late Jacob Marley. However, Scrooge has given away so much of his wealth that he and the firm of Scrooge & Cratchit are practically impoverished themselves. Bob confronts the possibility that his loyalty may be his ruin as they both face the wrath of bankers every bit as ruthless as Scrooge in his prime.
The Last Christmas of Ebenezer Scrooge: The Sequel to A Christmas Carol (Wildside Press, 2003) by Marvin Kaye. Author of some two-dozen novels, books, and plays, Marvin Kaye has crafted a sequel that picks up right where Christmas Carol left off. Haunted by a nagging feeling of something yet undone, the reformed Scrooge tries to right an unresolved wrong described in the original story. Adept use of Dickensian language and Victorian sensibilities gives the book a satisfying sense of continuity with Dickens' work. Kaye has also adapted his story for the stage, with a limited run of performances debuting in New York city in November 2004.
Mr. Timothy (HarperCollins, 2003) by Louis Bayard. Here again is an adult Tiny Tim, only this time as a 23-year-old resident of a London slum who becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. A novelist and reviewer, Louis Bayard conjurs a world where Scrooge lives as an ancient and eccentric recluse while Tim Cratchit struggles with the dangerous realities of the city's seamier side. The story reads like a thriller, vividly evoking the darker locales of the period as it echoes themes of hope and redemption from the original. Mr. Timothy was included in the New York Times' list of Notable Fiction for 2003.
With the enduring popularity of what Dickens called his "ghostly little book"--not to mention the numerous cinematic interpretations of the story--it's no wonder that the tale continues to inspire new creative efforts. An undisputed master of narrative fiction, Charles Dickens still represents the pinnacle of the art to many writers, and the temptation to try their hand at one of the master's classics (that has long-since passed out of copyright into the public domain!) is a challenge these authors could not resist. So if you've ever wondered what might have become of Scrooge or Tiny Tim or Bob Cratchit, pick up one of these contemporary sequels and see if it sheds some new light on a timeless tale.
Available from Amazon.com
Timothy Cratchit's Christmas Carol, 1917: A Sequel to the Charles Dickens Classic
by Dale Powell
The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge
by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita
The Last Christmas of Ebenezer Scrooge: The Sequel to A Christmas Carol
by Marvin Kaye
(for ticket information for stage version in December 2004,
by Louis Bayard
Full text available online
Scrooge & Cratchit
by Matt McHugh
For additional information, contact:
Hoboken, NJ 07030