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Thanksgiving Night

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  218 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Richard Bausch calls this, his tenth novel, "a love comedy with sorrows." The story is set in the small Virginia valley town of Point Royal, where several of Bausch's other novels and many of his stories take place. It is 1999; predictions of catastrophe blare on the radio, and religious fanaticism is everywhere on the rise. The millennium is approaching.

Oliver Ward and hi
Hardcover, 403 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Harper
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Nov 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Yes, I'm afraid I am one of THOSE people. I read horror books for Halloween, Christmas books in December, and I did indeed manage to finish this book on Thanksgving night. I will seek professional help soon.
This was an enjoyable book, peopled with many likeable characters. My favorite was Father Fire, a priest questioning his faith after hearing a parishoner's disturbing confession. He's also tormented by his housemate's hilariously awful poetry. (Best line - "Like running from a bull, with my e
Mar 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
Oy. Note to masters of short fiction everywhere: The novel and the short story are two entirely different crafts. Just because you write brilliant, sensitive stories don't think this gives you free reign to waste my time with two hundred odd pages of stilted, turgid rambling.

"Thanksgiving Night" tells the story of a kooky set of charachters living in suburban Virginia in 1999. (Bausch makes all kinds of presentiments about the zeitgeist of Y2K, Clinton scandal, etc. with absolutely zero follow-
Constance Groh
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Usually when I read a novel, no matter how fine it is, I want to "get through it," and to get on to the next book on my "to read" list. I do not know why this is so, but it is. Strange, since reading novels is purely recreational for me. Why do I want the experience to be done with, over, accomplished? To check the book off the list...

Along comes Thanksgiving Night, a book I never planned to read. I visited our local library, with its limited collection, and as it happened, nothing caught my eye
Jennifer Collins
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Bausch's characters are both believable and engaging, and the quiet weaving together of their stories is masterful in Thanksgiving Night. From the comical to the heartbreaking, the mundane to the crazy, the book creates a peak into another small world, and it becomes more and more compelling as it moves forward. For some, the book's subjects might be too ordinary, too centered on the day-to-day living of people who may as well be our neighbors or even ourselves, but Bausch's powers of language a ...more
May 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'm not quite sure what to think of this book. It was basically 400 pages of family members being crappy to each-other. I was physically stressed out by the end. On the other hand, it was well written. So I guess if you like that kind of story, I'd recommend this book.
Mar 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book was a hot mess. I don't think that I liked any of the characters. I only chose this book to read as it was considered to as a book club book. This book took me three months to read. I wish that I could stop reading a book if it doesn't appeal to me but I can't. I have to see if there is any redeeming qualities to the book. Sadly, this was not the case.
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved it; nice to have a few laughs.
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
This review was originally posted to Jen in Bookland

Thanksgiving Night was my second Thanksgiving book I was going to read and well...I just couldn't finish it. It is not like it was absolutely terrible and I hated it per say. It is more that I found it really boring I would fall asleep trying to read it. I will not give up on a book until I have read at least half of it, and this book being 400 pages I read over 200 before it was due back at the library and I just had to call it quits. It was t
Josh Ang
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed Richard Bausch's short stories immensely. He is a true master at capturing the moments of grace and humanity in true-to-life situations and presenting that slice of life within a short story.

Sadly this does not translate well into a more prolonged form like this novel. There were many characters jostling to take centre stage in this book, and they look interesting enough to be expanded on, and the end result is dispersed bits and storylines that try to weave themselves together.

Nov 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
When I first started reading this, I thought I was going to like it. I was a fan of the movies that came out in the late 80's, early 90's that had little sub-stories that connected all of the stories together somehow. I think the one I like the most was called $20 or something like that. It basically followed this $20 bill around and there was a story for each time it transferred hands. I thought this was going to be something like that.

I was probably a third of the way through when I figured ou
Dec 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Will and second wife Elizabeth appear to have a near perfect marriage. Holly and Fiona are The Crazies - respectively, Will's mother and great aunt who live together, bicker constantly and drive Will and Elizabeth to distraction. Holly's friend, Father Fire is beginning to doubt his faith and ability to help people. The arrival of new neighbours bring change and tension to Will and Elizabeth's relationship. Divorced Alison lives with her father and two children, battling to overcome the loneline ...more
Nov 26, 2015 rated it liked it
On the back of this book, Bausch's writing is compared to that of Raymond Carver, and I can see that as a valid comparison. The characters, like Carver's, are not ones with which the reader can form attachments. They are flawed, and this book is really a story of how relationships don't quite work, like spluttering, misfiring engines that manage to run, but the trip with them isn't pretty, efficient, or elegant. The novel's conclusion is more of a stopping point than an ending to the story.

The w
Oct 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
I thought this story was just fine. The characters and structure are too familiar and played out, but there's nothing particularly wrong with the story. It all takes place in some smallish town in Virginia and pulls a "Magnolia" where all the characters lives are intertwined. You have the crazy old ladies, their son who is having an affair with his unstable neighbor, his wife who teaches a boy at the school who is the son of a woman police officer, who has a dad who is working on the old ladies' ...more
Jul 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
I recently found a list of writers my creative writing teacher handed out to my class back when I was in grad school, so I'm trying to go through the list. I'd maybe read a short story by Bausch before, but that was it.

He's a good, solid writer. In this book, there are a lot of balls in the air, and Bausch makes it look effortless. The story is told from five different points of view and there are several fully-dimensional secondary characters as well that leap off the pages. The story and conf
Dec 06, 2010 rated it liked it
The third star only comes because I stuck w/ the book out of respect for the author and eventually found some rewards, but the reader longs for a reward much sooner. Peeves: There's never an explanation for the irritating quarrelsomeness of Fiona and Holly; three characters' names are pronounced differently from their spelling; everyone kisses and strokes loved ones' cheeks way too many times, let's find another way of describing affection; the humor is not humorous. By the end, I was happy to b ...more
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really struggled with this book. It seems to come from the worst of the Literary Novel tradition of having all of the main characters wallowing.... wallowing in their own misery and/or causing misery to others. I kept waiting for it to get better, and it never did. There were a few moments of hopeful thoughts expressed by some of the characters at the end, almost the last few pages, in fact, but it was hardly to be believed.
Oct 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Not horrible, but I agree with other reviewers that it definitely takes a long time to really get moving or grab your interest. Definitely almost entirely character development. Which is interesting to me, but...could have used some of those words to move the plot along. I do like his characters and the way he describes their thoughts and actions. Very deliberate. I like to read seasonal books. I'm a dork.
Margaret Tiddy
Nov 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: for a casual read
Recommended to Margaret by: a librarian
Oliver and his divorced, policewoman daughter become involved with Holly and her aunt Fiona, who are outlandish, feuding, elderly ladies.Holly's son Will's marriage is effected by the elderly ladies, as well as by his children, of a former marriage, and his interest in a bartender. A discouraged priest is in the middle of it all.
Sarah Honenberger
May 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone except wives whose husbands have cheated on them
Recommended to Sarah by: Library of Virginia
A very accomplished author, similar to Anne Tyler, everyday characters try to extricate themselves from problems they've brought on themselves. Dialogue is true to life, and though it might seem too much detail for some readers, it's an interesting group of characters like your own neighbors and family.
Jun 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
I am giving this book zero stars. It was a boring and regrettable waste of my time. I don't know why I slogged through 'til the end but I wouldn't want any of my loved ones or friends to do the same. His "Out of Season" book was great and "Hole in the Earth" was pretty good but stay away from Thanksgiving Night. It's even more boring than its title.
Kurt von Wasmuth
Nov 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Are you kidding me? Did I really pick a book simply because it has the word Thanksgiving in the title? Yes, I did. Ugh. This book defines the two-star rating label "It was OK". Funny at times, touching at others.. the rest of the time is spent bored out of your gourd. I'll be finished on Thanksgiving Day and I doubt my review will change at all. Update: My review did not change in the slightest.
Nov 18, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a well written book with likable characters and an engaging story, but my own personal history made it hard for me to get through and enjoy. I had a cheating husband, and though the author captures some of the emotional roller coaster of infidelity emotions and repurcussions, it is still made far too light of in its consequences.
Blaine Morrow
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirit
Bausch is comfortable with his writing; his patience in letting the plot develop is refreshing and effective. His characters ring true, and their connections are painful, frightening, and - ultimately - beautiful.
Jul 20, 2010 rated it liked it
This book would be a good fall read because it does get you in the mood for the season. However, I do not like when books add way too many characters and it becomes hard to keep track of who is who. This author did that and had a lot of story lines that ended up leading nowhere.
Jan 25, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book had the potential of being a great story and it had really likeable characters, but in the first eigth of the book it about 30 swear words, sex scenes, gay scenes, and a lot of alcohol and drug use. I threw this book away.
Pauline Lance
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love this book. I love the different personalities and the way they all clash yet come together! This is a very entertaining book, I coudn't stop reading it.
Feb 29, 2008 marked it as to-read
learned of author from podcast of This American Life - when they read his "Letter to Lady of the House" from The Selected Stories from Richard Bausch
Lisa Stevenson
Nov 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Enjoyable book about a quirky family.
Nov 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
What a rich, moving, big-hearted novel. It is, in short, a grand achievement, story-telling at its best.
Laura Brown
Oct 08, 2014 rated it liked it
A very interesting story for this time of year. Relationships seem so fragile when examined in the light of the Thanksgiving feast.
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Insomnia Book Club: Thanksgiving Night by Richard Bausch 1 1 Nov 02, 2011 02:53PM  
  • A Plump And Perky Turkey
  • Salty
  • The Ghost at the Table
  • 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving
  • The Story of Chicago May
  • The Architect of Desire: Beauty and Danger in the Stanford White Family
  • The Thanksgiving Visitor
  • The Boy Who Said No: An Escape to Freedom
  • An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
  • Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska
  • Christmasing With You
  • Mate Healer (Dragonmen, #4)
  • The Thanksgiving Door
  • Thanksgiving
  • The Great Turkey Race
  • Fortytude : making the next decades the best years of your life-- through the 40s, 50s, and beyond
  • Silver Lies (Silver Rush, #1)
  • A Seahorse Year
An acknowledged master of the short story form, Richard Bausch's work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper's, The New Yorker, Narrative, Gentleman's Quarterly. Playboy, The Southern Review, New Stories From the South, The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Pushcart Prize Stories; and they have been widely anthologized, including The Granta Book of the Ame ...more
More about Richard Bausch...

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