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Thanksgiving Night: A Novel

by

Thanksgiving Night: A Novel Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Bausch's characteristic empathy...is present here at times. And when he manages to elevate his viewpoint from host to author, the prose go with it. There is striking insight into human guilt and impulse. But in the end, Thanksgiving Night feels remarkably like, well, Thanksgiving night. You're comfortable, surrounded by familiar faces, and ready, at any moment, to nod off." Stan Parish, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Richard Bausch calls this, his tenth novel, "a love comedy with sorrows." The story is set in the small Virginia valley town of Point Royal, where several of Bausch's other novels and many of his stories take place. It is 1999; predictions of catastrophe blare on the radio, and religious fanaticism is everywhere on the rise. The millennium is approaching.

Oliver Ward and his divorced daughter, a young policewoman named Alison, and Oliver's two grandchildren become involved with Holly Grey and Holly's aunt Fiona, elderly ladies with a marked propensity for outlandish behavior. Holly's son, Will Butterfield, and Elizabeth, Will's second wife by that name, have been happily married for ten years but are about to discover how fragile happiness is.

And in the middle of all of them is an old priest, Father John Fire, who is a good man, thinking of leaving the priesthood. He is called "Brother Fire" by everyone who knows him, after the famous words of Saint Francis when confronted with the burning brand with which he would be martyred. Close to both Holly and Fiona, Brother Fire also has a part to play in the rapidly unfolding family drama.

Thanksgiving Night is a touching and empathetic portrayal of family — the one we have, and the ones we make. The people who populate these pages are flawed, wounded, stubborn, willful, scarred, often wildly eccentric, and all searching, in one way or another, for love.

Review:

"A house in Point Royal, Va., serves to entangle two families in clannish chaos. When local handyman Oliver Ward is summoned for a job at the house of Holly Grey and her aunt Fiona, he has no idea what to make of the two squabbling, headstrong old ladies who want to divide — literally — their house in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The two are known as 'the Crazies' by Holly's son, bookstore owner Will Butterfield, and his wife, high school teacher Elizabeth, who are growing weary of their antics. But they pay Oliver, who begins working at the ladies' house. Oliver's daughter, policewoman and single mother Alison, is later called in to help talk Holly off the roof during a drunken dispute. Meanwhile, Will's grown children, Mark and Gail, from his first marriage (to another Elizabeth, who abandoned the family) are in disagreement over whether they should hunt down their long-gone mother. There are digressions: Gail's sexual identity is an open question; Elizabeth's students are fractious; Will finds himself tempted by a sexy, none-too-stable bartender. When Oliver has a stroke on the job, the two families are thrown together at Holly and Fiona's as the Thanksgiving holiday draws nigh. Author of nine novels and five story collections, Bausch (Wives & Lovers) engages stock characters and a predictable theme of holiday forgiveness this time out, but he injects some crackle into the heartwarming elements." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Some novelists are such gifted stylists and storytellers — with profound insight into the best and worst that resides deep inside the human heart — that a smaller person than I just might hate their guts. OK, even a person my size might experience serious envy. Richard Bausch is such a writer. For a quarter-century now, in novels and short stories, he has turned a mirror on us and our next-door... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Bausch is such a companionable writer, and his characters so consistently genuine, that I never stopped turning the pages with enthusiasm, wonder and a delight in life's endless possibilities." Chris Bohjalian, The Washington Post Book World

Review:

"Richard Bausch displays a bracing, unapologetically old-fashioned sensibilty....Old-fashioned novelists tend to be generous, and Thanksgiving Night comes with broad swaths of detail, abundant quirks and lots of human suffering, as well as low-key lyricism." Meg Wolitzer, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Bausch's engagingly deranged characters hold our attention, and somehow muddle through, in one of his more interesting and readable longer fictions." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[F]unny, tender....[Bausch] turns enough fictional conventions on end to lure the reader deeper into the heart of his wounded characters, struggling for decency and forgiveness. Strongly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Early on, everyone in Thanksgiving Night seems to be walking a thin tightrope over a pit of despair, trying valiantly not to slip into it....That's not to say the novel is without levity, love and hope; Bausch supplies plenty to go around, just as one would wish on any Thanksgiving night." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Synopsis:

From Pen/Malamud winner Bausch comes a rich and moving novel about two eccentric families in a small Virginia town, set during the Thanksgiving season.

About the Author

Richard Bausch is the author of nine other novels and seven volumes of short stories. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Playboy, GQ, Harper's Magazine, and other publications, and has been featured in numerous best-of collections, including the O. Henry Awards' Best American Short Stories and New Stories from the South. In 2004 he won the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060094430
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
General
Author:
Bausch, Richard
Author:
by Richard Bausch
Subject:
Virginia
Subject:
Thanksgiving day
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
October 3, 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9 x 6.125 in 22.32 oz

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Thanksgiving Night: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 416 pages HarperCollins Publishers - English 9780060094430 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A house in Point Royal, Va., serves to entangle two families in clannish chaos. When local handyman Oliver Ward is summoned for a job at the house of Holly Grey and her aunt Fiona, he has no idea what to make of the two squabbling, headstrong old ladies who want to divide — literally — their house in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The two are known as 'the Crazies' by Holly's son, bookstore owner Will Butterfield, and his wife, high school teacher Elizabeth, who are growing weary of their antics. But they pay Oliver, who begins working at the ladies' house. Oliver's daughter, policewoman and single mother Alison, is later called in to help talk Holly off the roof during a drunken dispute. Meanwhile, Will's grown children, Mark and Gail, from his first marriage (to another Elizabeth, who abandoned the family) are in disagreement over whether they should hunt down their long-gone mother. There are digressions: Gail's sexual identity is an open question; Elizabeth's students are fractious; Will finds himself tempted by a sexy, none-too-stable bartender. When Oliver has a stroke on the job, the two families are thrown together at Holly and Fiona's as the Thanksgiving holiday draws nigh. Author of nine novels and five story collections, Bausch (Wives & Lovers) engages stock characters and a predictable theme of holiday forgiveness this time out, but he injects some crackle into the heartwarming elements." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Bausch's characteristic empathy...is present here at times. And when he manages to elevate his viewpoint from host to author, the prose go with it. There is striking insight into human guilt and impulse. But in the end, Thanksgiving Night feels remarkably like, well, Thanksgiving night. You're comfortable, surrounded by familiar faces, and ready, at any moment, to nod off." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "Bausch is such a companionable writer, and his characters so consistently genuine, that I never stopped turning the pages with enthusiasm, wonder and a delight in life's endless possibilities."
"Review" by , "Richard Bausch displays a bracing, unapologetically old-fashioned sensibilty....Old-fashioned novelists tend to be generous, and Thanksgiving Night comes with broad swaths of detail, abundant quirks and lots of human suffering, as well as low-key lyricism."
"Review" by , "Bausch's engagingly deranged characters hold our attention, and somehow muddle through, in one of his more interesting and readable longer fictions."
"Review" by , "[F]unny, tender....[Bausch] turns enough fictional conventions on end to lure the reader deeper into the heart of his wounded characters, struggling for decency and forgiveness. Strongly recommended."
"Review" by , "Early on, everyone in Thanksgiving Night seems to be walking a thin tightrope over a pit of despair, trying valiantly not to slip into it....That's not to say the novel is without levity, love and hope; Bausch supplies plenty to go around, just as one would wish on any Thanksgiving night."
"Synopsis" by , From Pen/Malamud winner Bausch comes a rich and moving novel about two eccentric families in a small Virginia town, set during the Thanksgiving season.
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