The Family Tabor: Book summary and reviews of The Family Tabor by Cherise Wolas

The Family Tabor

by Cherise Wolas

The Family Tabor by Cherise Wolas X
The Family Tabor by Cherise Wolas
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2018
    400 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

New from Cherise Wolas, acclaimed author of The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, this provocative, gorgeously rendered novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves and our family and the price we pay for second chances.

Harry Tabor is about to be named Man of the Decade, a distinction that feels like the culmination of a life well lived. Gathering together in Palm Springs for the celebration are his wife, Roma, a distinguished child psychologist, and their children: Phoebe, a high-powered attorney; Camille, a brilliant social anthropologist; and Simon, a big-firm lawyer, who brings his glamorous wife and two young daughters.

But immediately, cracks begin to appear in this smooth facade: Simon hasn't been sleeping through the night, Camille can't decide what to do with her life, and Phoebe is a little too cagey about her new boyfriend. Roma knows her children are hiding things. What she doesn't know, what none of them know, is that Harry is suddenly haunted by the long-buried secret that drove him, decades ago, to relocate his young family to the California desert. As the ceremony nears, the family members are forced to confront the falsehoods upon which their lives are built.

Set over the course of a single weekend, and deftly alternating between the five Tabors, this provocative, gorgeously rendered novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves and our family and the price we pay for second chances.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"When you have the most skillfully prepared, decadent dessert placed in front of you, do you plunge in and devour it? Or do you slowly savor it? This is the happy predicament I find myself in when approaching the work of Cherise Wolas... This brilliantly executed novel is filled with secrets, repressed memories, and unforgettable characters under a blazing California sun." - ABA Indie Next Pick List

"Starred Review. Wolas, whose much-acclaimed debut novel, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, earned countless well-deserved accolades, once again writes with gorgeous intensity about the strata of loving relationships that entwine families in all their messy contradictions that often stubbornly resist transparency, the truth, and resolution. Savor this." - Library Journal

"'The past is not dead. It's not even past,' wrote William Faulkner. The Family Tabor provides compelling evidence of that truth. Despite its roots in family drama and the mystery that propels its final third, The Family Tabor is, at its heart, a philosophical novel. Wolas poses big questions: What does it mean to live a good life? How can we atone for a serious misdeed? And how do we seek forgiveness when others have been wronged profoundly by our conduct?.." - Shelf Awareness

"The Family Tabor, Wolas' follow-up to her acclaimed The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, is a piercing and multilayered portrayal of an accomplished yet deeply troubled family." - Publishers Weekly

"The Resurrection of Joan Ashby was one of the best of 2017. We're thrilled that she's returning with another novel, about a family that gathers in Southern California over a weekend to celebrate their father being named Man of the Decade. As in all good family dramas, secrets come out when the family unites." - BookPage

"In this follow-up to The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, Wolas' absorbing, multi-starred debut, Harry Tabor's family gathers in Palm Springs to celebrate his being proclaimed Man of the Decade. But son Simon seems troubled, attorney daughter Phoebe is tight-lipped about her boyfriend, and another daughter, Camille, remains uncertain about her path in life. Then there's Harry, hiding a dark secret. Read Ashby if you haven't, then grab this." - Library Journal Critics & Authors, Barbara's Picks, July 2018

"The premises are not believable and the exposition, tedious and overblown. A disappointment." - Kirkus

"Spanning the brief but extraordinarily eventful 24 hours before and after Harry's celebrity gala, this breathtakingly beautiful story wades through a cacophony of emotions. Experiencing delight, anticipation, warmth, discovery, surprise, questioning, devastation, and hope just as any family may do on any average day. But this is no average day nor is this an average book. The Family Tabor absolutely demands to be on the top of the must-read stack, the head of the book club list, and the front of the staff picks table in every single bookshop." - The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

"Cherise Wolas is a writer ascending to the top of her game. The Family Tabor outshines even Wolas's spectacular debut." - Turnrow Book Co., Greenwood, MS

"Excellent, simply excellent. With skill and deftness, layer by layer, Wolas peels this family down to its true core, giving readers a truly exceptional reading experience. Book Clubs must not miss this one!" - Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

"Her work stays with me even when the book sits on the nightstand for a few days amid the bustle of a busy life. Wow. Just incredible." - Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, ME

"In this compelling story, luck, like love, can be elusive, ever-present and lost. Wolas explores Jewish identity and the connection to the past, with a nod to Leonard Cohen." - The Jewish Week

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Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Sue D. (Hudsonville, MI)

Another Triumph
Cherise Wolas follows The Resurrection of Joan Ashby with another wonderfully written novel. I was engaged from page one to the end with this family's secrets, past and present. The characters are well drawn and true to life. I love this author's way with words.

Martha S. (Mentor, OH)

The Family Tabor
The Family Tabor tells a story about individual family lives, the perceptions vs reality and what remains private. The Father is being honored for his work in the community helping others. He feels, as does his family feel, that this honor is due to "a life well lived". This is a privileged family, but from where and how did that privilege come to their family? At times, the family members seem to want what the others have, parents and siblings. These are complicated relationships. Religion plays a part and is a continuous thread in the story. Initially, I had a hard time "getting into" the book, but after a few chapters, I was hooked. The ending is surprising and stayed with me for a while. Harry, I wish I knew you.

Ardis C. (La Habra Hts., CA)

The Family Tabor
I enjoyed Cherise Wolas' novel. The characters were well developed in a very sensitive way. I found it interesting that for a very close family, each one has a secret, except for Roma.

Christine B. (Scottsdale, AZ)

don't miss this book
This is an exquisite, poignant and soul searching read. Each member of the Family Tabor is so thoughtfully and thoroughly rendered that I felt that I was living with them as an interested bystander who wanted to be a part of their family. The secrets they each had and how carefully they kept them hidden were beautifully defined.
But, ultimately, it was the why of those secrets that bound them all together and changed each of them in ways they never imagined. I am so looking forward to having my book club read this because I think the discussion could go on for days!! Thank you so much for letting me read and enjoy this book.

Sherilyn R. (St George, UT)

A family saga for the introspective reader
This is a family saga written from the perspective of the individual parents and their three adult children. Their lives and deepest secrets are laid bare. In the telling we learn much about life choices and their consequences, the impact of even the smallest of lies on our relationships, and the destructiveness of self deception.

This is a book that plumbs the richness of our inner lives. I loved the writing, loved the book. Cherise Wolas is an author to remember and to follow. Would certainly recommend this book for a serious introspective reader.

Gwen C. (Clearfield, PA)

The Family Tabor
Cherise Wolas has done it again. Her strong, evocative writing immediately pulled me in. The Family Tabor explores the paths Harry, Roma, Phoebe, Camille and Simons' lives are taking…and the paths they NEED to take. Memory suppression, avoiding acknowledging an inner hunger, presenting a less than true self to family members – so much is tackled and obtained in this book. Wolas has an in depth understanding of human nature. In addition, I learned much about the Jewish religion and child psychology. Kudos…and I enjoyed the nod to her first book in Phoebe's reading material.

...28 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Cherise Wolas Author Biography

Photo: Michael Dickes

Cherise Wolas's acclaimed first novel, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and a semi-finalist for the 2018 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. She lives in New York City with her husband.

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