In ‘Christmas In Austin,’ Nostalgia Is The Elusive Driving Force

Author Benjamin Markovits wanted to capture the feeling of the family home not being a museum, but a living, changing thing.

By Laura Rice & Joy DiazDecember 23, 2019 2:02 pm,

Benjamin Markovits’ newest novel, “Christmas in Austin,” follows the Essinger family’s Christmas gathering in Texas. Readers first met the Essinger siblings in Markovits’ 2018 novel, “A Weekend in New York.”

Christmas in Austin” spans a week with the German-American family, most of whom are traveling back to Texas for the celebration.

“It really is a book about family,” Markovits says.

The novel explores the characters’ relationships with each other and with the family as a whole. Markovits says family is more than just the people who are a part of it.

“When you’re a kid you have really no sense of the wider context in which you are growing up,” Markovits says. “But then as you get older you realize that you are also the product of world-historical forces, that lots of things in the planet at large had to come together to produce your childhood.”

Markovits’ own family inspired the novel: his father is Jewish and from New York, and he married a German Christian woman. They moved to Texas together to start their family.

Some of the novel’s plot rings true for Markovits: he plans to spend Christmas at his family’s home in Austin this year.


Written by Morgan Kuehler.