Take a look at some of the craziest Thanksgiving dinners ever put to page, and be glad yours aren’t this bad.
Anne Tyler, A Patchwork Planet
Anne Tyler’s 14th novel tells the story of lovable loser Barnaby Gaitlin, a former juvenile delinquent now working hard to get his life back on track. But fixing things isn’t always as easy as lugging down crates from an attic, especially when you add in his bitter ex-wife and old money family.
Suzanne Berne, The Ghost at the Table
Thanksgiving is a great time for reconciliation, as family members who have drifted apart find the chance to reconnect. Sometimes the differences are little more than political arguments; other times, as in Suzanne Berne’s novel, entire events are remembered differently – even the death of a mother years before.
Richard Ford, The Lay of the Land
The first two installments in Richard Ford’s “Bascombe series,” The Sportswriter and Independence Day, featured sportswriter protagonist Frank Bascombe through existential celebrations of Easter and the Fourth of July. The third installment in the series takes on Thanksgiving, as all the volatile elements of Bascombe’s life – his ex-wives, his grown kids, his neighbors – once again threaten to erupt.
Rick Moody, The Ice Storm
Thanksgiving usually manages to sneak in right before the full force of winter, but in this novel (and Ang Lee’s film adaptation) a storm blows in to match the tempestuous holiday dinner happening indoors.
Richard Bausch, Thanksgiving Night
On the eve of the millennium, two families collide. Will Butterfield, his wife Elizabeth, his drunk mother Holly, and his eccentric great-aunt Fiona encounter neighbor Henry Ward, his divorced daughter Alison, and his two grandchildren. The result is a lot of hard lessons about love and what it means to be thankful.
A.M. Homes, May We Be Forgiven
A murderous incident leads to a role reversal between brothers. Historian Harry Silver suddenly finds himself caring for successful TV executive George’s two adolescent children, as his parents drift further into old age to complete the recipe for a crazy Thanksgiving.
Jay McInerney, Model Behavior
One of New York City’s defining voices, McInerney here tackles another young writer whose life is threatening to fall apart. Connor McKnight’s constructed family – best friend, model girlfriend, anorexic sister – starts to disintegrate under the pressures of life in the big city.
Truman Capote, The Thanksgiving Visitor
Characters from Truman Capote’s other major holiday book, A Christmas Memory, return when it’s time for Buddy and Miss Sook to prepare the house for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately trouble looms, thanks to local bully Odd Henderson.