A Boy Called Christmas
by Matt Haig (read by Stephen Fry)
Canongate Books (audiobook)

Stephen Fry is to the audiobook world what Tom Hanks is to Hollywood. If Fry reads your book, it’s probably popular, funny and accom­plish­ed, but tinged with a little melancholy (and possibly slightly pompous). That aside, Fry fits Matt Haig’s charming 21st-century fable like a glove. Released in 2015 – but read by Fry this year – A Boy Called Christmas is “Santa Claus Begins” by any other name. We follow the growing pains of Nikolas, whose mother has been killed by a bear and whose father, Joel, is press-ganged by shadowy Anders the Hunter into a quest to prove that elves are real, the reward being that his family will be lifted out of poverty. Escaping his miserly aunt, Nikolas gathers everything he needs to be Father Christmas – from reindeer to presents. Fry reads with his customary geniality, and there is plenty to be genial about.