Take a drop of existential angst, mix with a group of old friends, stir in the sweet agony of midlife nostalgia, and you have the recipe for the Thanksgiving dinner from hell - especially when it's narrated in part by a mischievous God who pulls their strings and show us the workings. A group of cosmopolitan friends in midlife gather in New ...
Take a drop of existential angst, mix with a group of old friends, stir in the sweet agony of midlife nostalgia, and you have the recipe for the Thanksgiving dinner from hell - especially when it's narrated in part by a mischievous God who pulls their strings and show us the workings. A group of cosmopolitan friends in midlife gather in New England for a Thanksgiving dinner - and are trapped there when it snows. Sean, the Irish hard-drinking poet is their host, but hasn't told them he's dying of cancer. In fact none of them would be there if they didn't have the kind of dysfunctional lives and problems which prevent them being with their own families. With the exception of the enigmatic outsider, a new young trophy wife, they all know too much about each other, their weak points and failures. Relationships and histories criss-cross; they have little in common except a mutual past and a search for meaning in the present. And meanwhile they're all at the mercy of fate - both inevitable and surprising, funny and tragic.
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-10-08 It is a truism that an author is the god of the universe he or she creates, and it must be tempting for a novelist to make the leap from omniscient narrator to Omniscient Narrator. Huston succumbs to this temptation in her ninth novel (her third published in the United States), as God the Narrator makes clear in the prologue. The occasion God chooses to narrate is the Thanksgiving dinner Irish poet Sean Farrell hosts at his New England home. His 12 guests are all residents of an academic community and are, with few exceptions, middle-aged or older, their personal r?sum?s full of suffering and loss. As the too-long meal progresses, the narrator gets up close and personal with the characters, baring their unspoken thoughts and their difficult pasts. But between courses, God shifts from closeup to panorama, revealing in swift strokes the fate of each character. Thus, their death agonies are portrayed, as are their lifelong agonies, and very few of their fates are sweet. It is to Huston's credit that she creates a diverse but plausible cast, including a native of Belarus, a South African from Odessa, an African-American poet, a famous American novelist, an Italian secretary, a doctor, a lawyer, a baker (but no candlestick maker). She chooses, however, a setup difficult to make compelling: an uneventful, talk-filled evening during which the important dramas are internal. While Huston spins a provocative riff on God and love (God doesn't love, but we do; that's what makes us free), a reader might wish Huston had made her narrator God as magnanimous as She is omniscient. Likewise, God warns that She is unconcerned with "protagonists and antagonists, a climax and a d?nouement." God might be above such things, but the reader usually is not, and some readers will wish Huston had stuck to her mortal roots. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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