Christmas at the Kerenyis has all the shriving austerity of Ash Wednesday -- with Hugo, the host, wife Miriam who is in the process of shedding ties with her immediate family, their children and grandchildren, a spinster sister and Hugo's elegant, aristocratic father. Miriam to the natural puzzlement and consternation of son Franz and serious Anne, will simply not join most of the festivities. She has opted for the contentment of being alone, of losing people, of ""folding-in."" While the family picks away at Miriam's quiet exile in her rooms, Hugo plays Master of Revels with increasing heartiness and the absolute authority with which he has always invaded and directed other lives, stage managing the traditional exercises with infinite care -- from stocking hanging to a skating party. But rebellion against Hugo grows, even as he is contemplating a ""new life"" away from the defector Miriam and with a mistress. Then, at the dose, Hugo is left to the solitude he never wanted, and which Miriam had sought. A bright dinner party tale with light but little warmth. But bright it is.