On Thanksgiving Day 2007, as the country teeters on the brink of a recession, three generations of the Olson family gather. Eleanor and Gavin worry about their daughter, a single academic, and her newly adopted Indian child, and about their son, who has been caught in the imploding real-estate bubble. While the Olsons navigate the tensions and secrets that mark their relationships, seventeen-year-old Kijo Jackson and his best friend Spider set out from the nearby housing projects on a mysterious job. A series of tragic events bring these two worlds ever closer, exposing the dangerously thin line between suburban privilege and urban poverty, and culminating in a crime that will change everyones life.
In her gripping new book, Jennifer Vanderbes masterfully lays bare the fraught lives of this complex cast of characters and the lengths to which they will go to protect their families. Strangers at the Feast is at once a heartbreaking portrait of a family struggling to find happiness and an exploration of the hidden costs of the American dream.
Published to international acclaim, Jennifer Vanderbess first book, Easter Island, was hailed as one of those rare novels that appeals equally to heart, mind, and soul, by the San Francisco Chronicle. In her second novel, this powerful writer reaches new heights of storytelling. This page-turner wrestles with the most important issues of our timerace, class, and above all else, family. Strangers at the Feast will leave readers haunted and deeply affected.
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"Starred Review. Vanderbes has written an absorbing and suspenseful story about the dynamics of family, generational misunderstandings, and the desperate ways one copes with both the arbitrariness of fate and the consequences of one's choices. " - Library Journal
"Vanderbes lays on the cultural ironies a little too thickly in what is otherwise an inventively plotted, highly readable novel about white Americans overweening sense of entitlement." - Booklist
"Vanderbes spins her wheels on a toothless Corrections-lite family saga that winds its way to an ever-so-unlikely big bang conclusion." - Publishers Weekly
"Excessive back story overshadows forward momentum in a compassionate though schematic portrait of middle-class characters in crisis." - Kirkus
Family conflict, fascinating social commentary, and a riveting plot converge in Jennifer Vanderbes' stunning Strangers at the Feast, a thriller that also raises large and haunting questions about the meaning of guilt, innocence, and justice." - Karen Holt, O, The Oprah Magazine
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Jennifer Vanderbes was born in New York City in 1974. She received her B.A. in English Literature from Yale and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. After graduate school, she was awarded a McCreight Fiction Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, and then the Creative Writing Fellowship at Colgate University. Her first novel, Easter Island was named a "best book of 2003" by the Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor and was translated into 16 languages. Her third book, The Secret of Raven Point (2014), is a World War II novel set in Italy.
Vanderbes has taught creative writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Columbia University's M.F.A. program. She was a 2006 Guggenheim Fellow, and was recently named a Cullman ...
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