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Thanksgiving night : a novel
Richard Bausch
Adult Fiction BAUSCH

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Caught in the middle of two pairs of warring relatives, middle-aged Will Butterfield feels helpless to control much of anything in his life. The "Crazies" are two old women who happen to be Will's mother and great-aunt. Their late-night calls, fueled by alcohol, give neither used-bookstore owner Will nor his much-younger second wife, Elizabeth, much rest. When the Crazies aren't tearing up his household, his adult children from his first marriage are. Still, Will and Elizabeth's solid, loving marriage weathers the squalls-that is, until Will allows himself to be seduced by his unstable neighbor, which destroys the fragile balance of everyone around him. In his tenth novel (after Hello to the Cannibals), Bausch elevates familial squabbling to an art form, offering a funny, tender look at a small group of small-town Virginians whose lives intersect, collide, and regroup around the 1999 Thanksgiving holiday. He 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.-Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Holly Grey
Lives with her aunt Fiona; constantly squabbling with her aunt.

Holly's aunt; constantly arguing with her niece.

Will Butterfield
Holly's son; calls his mother and aunt the "Crazies"; tired of the family squabbling.

Elizabeth Butterfield
Will's wife.

Oliver Ward
Hired to work on the house that Holly and Fiona live together in; suffers a sroke.

Single mother
Oliver's daughter.
Police officer

Will's son from his first marriage; undecided if he should hunt for his long-lost mother.

Will's daughter from his first marriage; unsure of her sexual identity.

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