The Ghost at the Table

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9780141028477: The Ghost at the Table

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.

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Book Description:

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:

“Right away . . . you know her story and her style are going to be worth your time and hers—and you are hooked.”—USA Today (USA Today )

“The situations [Berne] creates are so compelling—and so disturbingly familiar—that it’s hard not to be drawn in when everyone’s secrets begin to unravel.” —The Boston Globe (Boston Globe )

"A witty, moving and psychologically astute story about siblings and the disparate ways they remember common experiences from childhood. . . . Wholly engaging, the perfect spark for launching a rich conversation around your own table once the dishes have been cleared."
Washington Post Book World (The Washington Post )

"Delicious. . . . Berne turns a witty tale of holiday dysfunction into a transfixing borderline gothic, her appealing heroine into an unreliable narrator seething with decades-old resentment. Grade: A."
Entertainment Weekly (Entertainment Weekly )

A "taut psychological drama...Berne takes an inherently dramatic conflict—one sister's intention to obfuscate the hard truths of the past vs. another's determination to drag them under a spotlight—and ratchets up the stakes with astute observation and narrative cunning."
Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly )

A taut psychological drama...Berne takes an inherently dramatic conflictone sister's intention to obfuscate the hard truths of the past vs. another's determination to drag them under a spotlightand ratchets up the stakes with astute observation and narrative cunning. Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly )

A witty, moving and psychologically astute story about siblings and the disparate ways they remember common experiences from childhood. . . . Wholly engaging, the perfect spark for launching a rich conversation around your own table once the dishes have been cleared. Washington Post Book World (The Washington Post )

Delicious. . . . Berne turns a witty tale of holiday dysfunction into a transfixing borderline gothic, her appealing heroine into an unreliable narrator seething with decades-old resentment. Grade: A. Entertainment Weekly (Entertainment Weekly )

Right away . . . you know her story and her style are going to be worth your time and hersand you are hooked.USA Today

The situations [Berne] creates are so compellingand so disturbingly familiarthat its hard not to be drawn in when everyones secrets begin to unravel. The Boston Globe (Boston Globe )

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Families are toxic. Thanksgiving, New England, and writer Cynthia has been persuaded by elder sister Frances to come and visit for the autumn holiday. Cynthia is reluctant to join in this family reunion because she d rather not see their long-estranged father. Yet Frances is adamant that they must all meet to clear the air - poisoned ever since their mother died when they were children. But Cynthia has her own ideas about how to use this family occasion. It s time to lift the lid on some unwelcome home truths about what happened all those years ago. And this time her daddy s feelings are not to be spared . Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780141028477

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Families are toxic. Thanksgiving, New England, and writer Cynthia has been persuaded by elder sister Frances to come and visit for the autumn holiday. Cynthia is reluctant to join in this family reunion because she d rather not see their long-estranged father. Yet Frances is adamant that they must all meet to clear the air - poisoned ever since their mother died when they were children. But Cynthia has her own ideas about how to use this family occasion. It s time to lift the lid on some unwelcome home truths about what happened all those years ago. And this time her daddy s feelings are not to be spared . Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780141028477

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