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The Ghost at the Table (Shannon Ravenel Books)

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The Ghost at the Table (Shannon Ravenel Books) Cover

ISBN13: 9781565123342
ISBN10: 1565123344
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Thanksgiving, homecoming, reunion — family ideals shared across generations and geography. But does reality ever live up to expectations? The Fiske family is gathered at the exquisitely restored New England home of the second of three sisters. Family apologist Frances has gone to great lengths to bring about a reunion with the sisters' long-estranged father. Unmarried Cynthia, the youngest, has reluctantly come east from California, where she writes books for a series called Sisters of History. Her book-in-progress is about Mark Twain's daughters, whose lives bear an uncomfortable similarity to those of the Fiske sisters.

This family Thanksgiving is classically disjointed, driven by old jealousies, dangerous misconceptions, and grudging love — the worst kind. The family table groans with the weight of guilt and blame. The result is the taut story of a twenty-first-century family's unraveling, played against a famous nineteenth-century writer's own family dysfunction.

Review:

"Weary of Mrs. Smith's pumpkin pie? The predictability of grandma's cranberry sauce? The bovine migration of guests toward the TV while you dry dishes in the kitchen?

Spice up Thanksgiving this year! No, Martha, I'm not talking nutmeg. Here's a chance to fight the soporific effect of turkey with some intellectual stimuli: Three fine writers are publishing novels this fall about family and... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Suzanne Berne has a gift for creating unreliable narrators....In The Ghost at the Table, Berne masterfully explores the parallel realities that can endure after a great sadness." Boston Globe

Review:

"Berne's writing is sure-footed. She captures the New England gloom and the quiet bitterness of the characters in deft strokes." Charlotte Observor

Review:

"An original take on a frequently explored subject." Library Journal

Review:

"Berne prefers questions to answers. This substantial tale of a dysfunctional family reunion promises a holiday, and a read, to remember." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

Strikingly different since childhood and leading very dissimilar lives now, sisters Frances and Cynthia have nevertheless managed to remain " devoted" — so long as they stay on opposite coasts. But with the reappearance of their elderly, long-estranged father they find themselves reunited for a cold, snowy Thanksgiving week— a reunion that awakens sleeping tensions and old sorrows.

Frances envisions a happy family holiday with her husband and daughters in her lovely old New England farmhouse. Cynthia, a writer of historical fiction, doesn't understand how Frances can ignore the past their father's presence revives, a past that includes suspicions about their mother's death twenty-five years earlier. Adding to her uneasiness is her research for a book on Mark Twain's daughters, whose lives she thinks eerily mirror her own and Frances's.

As Thanksgiving day arrives, with a houseful of guests looking forward to dinner, the sisters continue to struggle with different versions of their shared past, until a warning issued by Cynthia's friend Carita, that " families are toxic" and " blood is bloody, " proves prophetically true.

The Ghost at the Table reveals what happens when one person tries to rewrite another's history and explores the mystery of why families try to stay together even when it may be in their best interests to stay apart.

Synopsis:

Strikingly different since childhood and leading dissimilar lives now, sisters Frances and Cynthia have managed to remain "devoted"—as long as they stay on opposite coasts. When Frances arranges to host Thanksgiving at her idyllic New England farmhouse, she envisions a happy family reunion, one that will include the sisters' long-estranged father. Cynthia, however, doesn't understand how Frances can ignore the past their father's presence revives, a past that includes suspicions about their mother's death twenty-five years earlier.

As Thanksgiving Day arrives, with a houseful of guests looking forward to dinner, the sisters continue to struggle with different versions of a shared past, their conflict escalating to a dramatic, suspenseful climax.

Synopsis:

When Frances arranges to host Thanksgiving at her idyllic New England farmhouse, she envisions a happy family reunion, one that will include her sister, Cynthia, and their estranged father. But tension mounts as the sisters discover that each has a different version of their shared past.

About the Author

Suzanne Berne lives in Newton, Massachusetts, with her husband and daughters. A contributor to the New York Times, she teaches in Harvard University's English Department. Her first novel, A Crime in the Neighborhood, won Great Britain's first Orange Prize and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times and the Edgar Allan Poe first fiction awards. Both novels were New York Times Notable Books.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Mindy, October 30, 2006 (view all comments by Mindy)
Are you dreading your annual Thanksgiving family reunion? Do you ever suspect that your family is disfunctional? Read this book and perhaps you'll view your relatives as much less offensive!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(11 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781565123342
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Berne, Suzanne
Publisher:
A Shannon Ravenel Book
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Sisters
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Series:
Shannon Ravenel Books
Publication Date:
20061020
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
A.&quot;<br> &#8212;<em>Entertainment Weekly</em>
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.80x5.64x1.13 in. 1.13 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Ghost at the Table (Shannon Ravenel Books) Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill - English 9781565123342 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Suzanne Berne has a gift for creating unreliable narrators....In The Ghost at the Table, Berne masterfully explores the parallel realities that can endure after a great sadness."
"Review" by , "Berne's writing is sure-footed. She captures the New England gloom and the quiet bitterness of the characters in deft strokes."
"Review" by , "An original take on a frequently explored subject."
"Review" by , "Berne prefers questions to answers. This substantial tale of a dysfunctional family reunion promises a holiday, and a read, to remember."
"Synopsis" by , Strikingly different since childhood and leading very dissimilar lives now, sisters Frances and Cynthia have nevertheless managed to remain " devoted" — so long as they stay on opposite coasts. But with the reappearance of their elderly, long-estranged father they find themselves reunited for a cold, snowy Thanksgiving week— a reunion that awakens sleeping tensions and old sorrows.

Frances envisions a happy family holiday with her husband and daughters in her lovely old New England farmhouse. Cynthia, a writer of historical fiction, doesn't understand how Frances can ignore the past their father's presence revives, a past that includes suspicions about their mother's death twenty-five years earlier. Adding to her uneasiness is her research for a book on Mark Twain's daughters, whose lives she thinks eerily mirror her own and Frances's.

As Thanksgiving day arrives, with a houseful of guests looking forward to dinner, the sisters continue to struggle with different versions of their shared past, until a warning issued by Cynthia's friend Carita, that " families are toxic" and " blood is bloody, " proves prophetically true.

The Ghost at the Table reveals what happens when one person tries to rewrite another's history and explores the mystery of why families try to stay together even when it may be in their best interests to stay apart.

"Synopsis" by ,
Strikingly different since childhood and leading dissimilar lives now, sisters Frances and Cynthia have managed to remain "devoted"&#8212;as long as they stay on opposite coasts. When Frances arranges to host Thanksgiving at her idyllic New England farmhouse, she envisions a happy family reunion, one that will include the sisters' long-estranged father. Cynthia, however, doesn't understand how Frances can ignore the past their father's presence revives, a past that includes suspicions about their mother's death twenty-five years earlier.

As Thanksgiving Day arrives, with a houseful of guests looking forward to dinner, the sisters continue to struggle with different versions of a shared past, their conflict escalating to a dramatic, suspenseful climax.

"Synopsis" by ,
When Frances arranges to host Thanksgiving at her idyllic New England farmhouse, she envisions a happy family reunion, one that will include her sister, Cynthia, and their estranged father. But tension mounts as the sisters discover that each has a different version of their shared past.
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