Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Ghost at the Table

The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne (2006) 304 pages

Imagine a Thanksgiving visit with sisters, Cynnie and Frances, who have very different views about what happened in their childhood, with a seriously ill mother and a father who started an affair with the tutor of one of his daughters while his wife was still alive. As the Thanksgiving visit--which includes their now frail father-- progresses, the story makes multiple passes to the time of the mother's death, with suggestions that perhaps it wasn't entirely natural that it occurred when it did.

About forty pages before the end of the book, I abruptly decided that I didn't like any of the characters anymore.

However...there are many moments of lucidity and insight in Cynnie's narration. This novel is layered like an onion, with bottled emotions, shouting, misunderstandings and deception...and maybe even a bit of caring...peeling off in turns.

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