Tinsel

  • by Hank Stuever
  • Narrated by Ray Porter
  • 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When Stuever's narrative begins, he's standing in line with the people waiting to purchase flat-screen TVs at Best Buy on Black Friday, the opening of the Christmas shopping season. From there he follows a number of key residents of Frisco, Texas, as they navigate through the nativity and all its attendant crises: Tammy Parnell, an eternally optimistic suburban mother and proprietor of "Two Elves with a Twist," a company that decorates other people's houses for Christmas; Jeff and Bridgett Trykoski, owners of that one house every town has, the house visible from space with the brightest and most awe-inspiring Christmas decorations; and single mother and Bank of America employee Caroll Cavazos, who hopes that the life-affirming moments of Christmas might overcome the struggles of the rest of the year.Steuver's portraits are at once humane, heartfelt, revealing - and very, very funny. Tinsel is a compelling tale of our half-trillion-dollar holiday, measuring what we've become against the ancient rituals of what we've always been.

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What the Critics Say

"With impeccable research and solid reporting, Stuever has written the gift book that keeps on giving - Christmas consumerism wrapped together with traditional family values." (Publishers Weekly)
"Insightful, funny/sad, filled with poetry and despair; who better than Hank Stuever to take on the Christmas Industrial Complex with such ultimate humanity, given that he writes like an angel." (David Rakoff, author of Don't Get Too Comfortable and Fraud)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An American Christmas...

Where does Tinsel rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I really enjoyed it. I wanted something to listen to that was about Christmas and took the plunge. It was definitely up there with the greats. Its a slice of an American Christmas, following a few characters across three years. Luckily for the author the first year of his project was 2006 when everyone thought the good times were here to stay. The following years briefly catch up on the residents of Frisco as the effects of the Credit Crunch are beginning to tell.


Who was your favorite character and why?

Jeff Trykowski the Christmas light's wizard. Because this is an audiobook there are obviously no photographs so I entered Jeff's name in Youtube and...wow! They are stunning!


Have you listened to any of Ray Porter’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Ray Porter is fast becoming my favourite narrator. I've just finished listening to his reading of They Thirst. This is a factual book but he still imbues the participants with a great selection of easily recognisable voices. I'm going to start looking at his back catalogue.


Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I love Christmas, as most of the people in this book do, so it definitely gave me a glow. There are sad bits and funny bits.


Any additional comments?

A prescient look at how Christmas is celebrated in a boom town in Texas. It touches on the history of Christmas in America, the economics of the festive period and the religious side too, through a cast of mainly sympathetic characters. It exposes the commercial side of the festive season mercilessly, but boils everything down to the important things. A nice easy listen. I'd really recommend it for your December credit.

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- Farniboy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-11-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.