Saturday, April 5, 2008
the ghost at the table...
OK, the ghost at said table isn't actually Casper. But every time I hear "Ghost", I think "Casper". But I digress.
I just finished one of the books I got for Christmas -- Suzanne Berne's The Ghost at the Table. It's a novel about two sisters and their dysfunctional-family-Thanksgiving. Frances is the older, married-with-children sister who is hosting the holiday at her home in Concord and Cynthia is the younger, single sister from San Francisco who is overdue for a vist. While in the area, Cynthia, who writes about the sisters and/or daughters of famous people in a "Sisters of History" series for young girls, plans to do a little research on one of her books. Thrown into the mix is the aged, invalid father with whom both Frances and Cynthia have conflicted feelings.
One of the interesting (and true) points the author makes in the novel is that we each have our own version of family history. We all base our interpretation of the past on our own unique frame of reference.
Towards the end of the novel, Cynthia (the narrator) is thinking about her past with her parents and has this to say:
They, like most people, had done their best. You love whom you love, you fail whom you fail, and almost always we fail the ones we meant to love. Not intentionally, that's just how it happens. We get sick or distracted or frightened and don't listen, or listen to the wrong things. Time passes, we lose track of our mistakes, neglect to make amends. And then, no matter how much we might like to try again, we're done.
Berne does have a point there, and I'm sure everyone can relate to it (at least to some degree).
I'd say The Ghost at the Table is a pretty good book -- not brilliant, but worth reading (especially around Thanksgiving)!