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The Ghost at the Tableby Suzanne Berne
Synopses & Reviews
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.
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.
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.
The Fiske family is gathered at the exquisitely restored New England home of the second of three sisters. The family table groans with the weight of guilt and blame in this taut, psychological drama of a familys unraveling.
About the Author
Suzanne Berne is the author of three novels, the first of which, A Crime in the Neighborhood, won great Britain's Orange Prize. Her most recent novel is The Ghost at the Table. She lives with her family near Boston and teaches at Boston College.
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