Picks and Pans Review: Christmas at Fontaine's

updated 12/20/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/20/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

by William Kotzwinkle

Every Christmas season deserves a fresh story about the holiday, and this year's top candidate has a big New York department store (remember Miracle on 34th Street?) as its setting. There's a lonely divorced mother, a window decorator, a crazy shopping bag lady, the store Santa (a drunken bum, of course), a tough store detective and the money-obsessed owner. Christmas is just about to arrive, but the decorator won't reveal his greatest window display; the divorcée's ex-husband has their children for the holidays, and the mean detective knows someone is secretly living in the store. This is whimsy, just about the toughest style of all for a writer, but Kotzwinkle—who wrote the best-selling novelization of the movie E T.—knows the territory. He has worked—according to the book jacket blurb—as a department store Santa, and he has an eye for bizarre, jokey details. (Putnam, $11.95)

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