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The story begins as an ambulance pulls away from the butcher’s shop, taking Mick to the hospital after he has carelessly hacked off a finger while preparing John’s order. John’s wife, Marguerite, and two young children are forced to live with his uncle until he can find work. Marguerite has a brief affair, an escape from the poverty and boredom of day-to-day life – and John, attempting to make amends for Mick’s lost finger, is chased down by the butcher’s buddies. These tumultuous events all take place during the first twenty-five days of December, leaving each character facing a Christmas of poverty, impossible love and loneliness.