SITTING AT THE WRONG DINNER TABLE A NOVEL BY STEPHEN NAUTA
After insisting the caretaker break off her half of the gravestone Richard purchased to mark where they would spend eternity, Fran stands back, amused by the sight of her minister, the funeral director, and the caretaker arguing over how to deal with her request. She notices a dog wander past the gravestone, sniff, and lift his hind leg. She savors the satisfaction the pissing dog offers her, but cringes when she pictures confessing this guilty pleasure to her therapist.
Welcome to Fran’s new world.
In this family drama Fran Vanderhuis faces the inevitable death of her oppressive husband of forty years. This impending freedom provokes her to come to terms with the fact that her life is not what she expected. With the help of Marcia, an eccentric therapist, she begins to find her voice and embarks on a plan of action to turn her life right side up. Her first major task is to reestablish her relationships with her three lost sons. She convinces them to come home to White Lake, Michigan for a weekend family reunion.
John, a missionary gone rogue, travels home from India where he leaves behind his sultry wife, Myrna. Thomas attempts to recapture lost glory by retracing the steps he took when he left home for college in northern California driving a vintage Volkswagen bus. He brings along Julie, his current co-ed girlfriend from Humboldt State University, where he teaches art, and Dundee his aging dog. Peter leaves his congregation in Florida and prepares to do spiritual battle with his wayward siblings, sans his staunch ally father. He is unaware his siblings now have a tentative ally of their own, his mother. His preparations are distracted since he is anxious to see his old secret flame, Thomas’ Sammy.
Fran’s grand scheme is more of the usual. She intends to touch her son’s hearts by feeding them the foods she used to nurture them through their tumultuous childhoods. She hopes her cuisine will work its magic this second time around; healing the hearts she watched break twenty years ago.
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