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Adrift in the recession, Fletcher feels like a relative outsider at his wife's family gathering, seeing the events of the day and recalling the death of his sister, Clare, through the distorting lens of his dislocation
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Hobbie's second novel (Boomfell, 1991) is a morning-to- midnight chronicle: the single long day of a family's annual Thanksgiving gathering. Beneath the surface proprieties are tremors of angst, uncertainty, and foreboding. Jack Fletcher is a waiting-for-success architect married to Gwen Wells (two kids), and each Thanksgiving--as now--he and his family go to the enviably upscale Connecticut house of Gwen's sister Penny and her investment-broker husband Peter (three kids), the families joined, too, by a set of aging in-laws. Amid the happy-cantankerous crowd of kids and adults, however (including a brassy-but-sexy guest named Liz, brought from college by Penny and Peter's oldest daughter), is an important absence that keeps the hyper-thoughtful Jack moodily preoccupied from page one. Clare Wells, sister of Gwen and Penny, had been the family's black sheep- -leaving home, embracing liberal causes, having a baby (whose?), falling farther out of touch, and then, exactly a year ago, killing herself with pills. Whose fault? Why can't--mustn't--the family talk about it now? Jack's inner musings on the subject are woven among servings of turkey and pie, old family jokes, and walks in the woods--giving him time to let the reader know that he's an ex- (and still deeply impassioned) lover of the dead Clare; to cop a feel from Liz, the young guest (there's a meaningful secret in her past too); to share a joint; and, before bed, while musing in the backyard about American history and his father-in-law's prostate cancer, to reveal a recent fling with the lady next door and consider another. Plentiful meditations on everything from aging to AIDS and cancer to the cosmos from a not-very-prepossessing central character. A skillfully woven narrative, in all, that tries hard for meaning but remains a kind of domestic melodrama for the college-educateds. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Quietly and subtly, in a seamless style composed of wonderfully crafted sentences, Hobbie's second novel (after the award-winning Boomfell ) burrows deep into the psyche of architect Jack Fletcher. "The Day" is Thanksgiving; Jack, his attractive wife Gwen and their delightful children are visiting Gwen's efficient sister Penny and her successful husband Peter at their Connecticut home. Jack finds himself looking beyond the stuffing, smiles and ceremony to question his ideas about who he really is. Through his unique perspective, which mingles haunting memories of his sister-in-law Clare with musings on the braid in Gwen's hair and the painkiller in Penny's bathroom, Hobbie gently unfolds a moving story of illusions, antipathy and love. As James Joyce did in "The Dead," he captures the nuances of character and situation in a way that adds a startling dimension to a familiar family holiday. Hobbie's unnerving tale twists slowly and subtly, turning a routine highway drive into a narrative climax and a simple grocery list into a script for a character's life. The meaning of events, metaphors, even idioms, shifts gradually yet inexorably under Hobbie's carefully controlled pen, which makes deft use of irony and repetition. This wry, stirring, richly allusive novel is sure to please readers who delight in literary excellence.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Henry Holt & Co, 1993. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0805025197
Book Description Henry Holt & Co, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0805025197
Book Description Henry Holt & Co, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110805025197