Thanksgiving Night

Kooky relatives, drunken antics, and near-death experiences are fodder enough for three tomes. Richard Bausch packs all that and a hostage situation into Thanksgiving Night, his 10th novel, eschewing schmaltz and eliciting uncommon emotions (compassion for a cheating husband, ire for a wronged wife) at every stage. Even his use of a cliché family celebration is easily forgiven; the November day is just one of many described in vivid, unfussy prose. (Of an August afternoon: ”Stillness. Not even an airplane in the sky. Some celestial creature landing here might think the whole world a quiet place, deserted or abandoned.”) For this, we are thankful.

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