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Strangers at the Feastby Jennifer Vanderbes
Synopses & Reviews
On Thanksgiving Day 2007, as the country teeters on the brink of a recession, three generations of the Olson family gather. Eleanor and Gavin worry about their daughter, a single academic, and her newly adopted Indian child, and about their son, who has been caught in the imploding real-estate bubble. While the Olsons navigate the tensions and secrets that mark their relationships, seventeen-year-old Kijo Jackson and his best friend Spider set out from the nearby housing projects on a mysterious job. A series of tragic events bring these two worlds ever closer, exposing the dangerously thin line between suburban privilege and urban poverty, and culminating in a crime that will change everyones life.
In her gripping new book, Jennifer Vanderbes masterfully lays bare the fraught lives of this complex cast of characters and the lengths to which they will go to protect their families. Strangers at the Feast is at once a heartbreaking portrait of a family struggling to find happiness and an exploration of the hidden costs of the American dream.
Published to international acclaim, Jennifer Vanderbess first book, Easter Island, was hailed as “one of those rare novels that appeals equally to heart, mind, and soul,” by the San Francisco Chronicle. In her second novel, this powerful writer reaches new heights of storytelling. This page-turner wrestles with the most important issues of our timerace, class, and above all else, family. Strangers at the Feast will leave readers haunted and deeply affected.
“Strangers at the Feast is a novel of collision courses. Here is a neurotic family trying as best they can to make it through Thanksgiving. Here are a pair of hapless burglars. Here are husbands and wives, parents and children, whose perspectives place them in different universes. Jennifer Vanderbes weaves these vectors together with magical, jaw-dropping fluidity. The book has the mordant, hilarious observations of high comedy, and the compassion of a tragic character study, and the page-turning suspense of a thriller. I flew through this wonderful novel and I can't wait to read it again.” Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply
“The incomparable Jennifer Vanderbes has done it again. Training her sights on the intimate workings of a single suburban every-family, she manages to invoke the whole history of a continent, while simultaneously engaging some of the thorniest questions of our times. This is a book that dares to ask: What went wrong, and right, in America? Gorgeously written and uncompromising in its vision, Strangers at the Feast is more than a great novel. It’s an important one.” Justin Cronin, Author of The Passage
"Elegant and insightful and delightfully precise...Jennifer Vanderbes' Strangers at the Feast is a bona-fide delicacy." John Wray, author of Lowboy
“An inventively plotted, highly readable novel about white Americans’ overweening sense of entitlement.” Booklist
About the Author
Jennifer Vanderbes is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a New York Public Library Cullman Fellowship. Her debut novel, Easter Island, was translated into sixteen languages, and her essays and reviews appear in the New York Times and Washington Post. She lives in New York City.
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