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Extended Audio Sample Strangers at the Feast: A Novel Audiobook, by Jennifer Vanderbes Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (649 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jennifer Vanderbes Narrator: Renée Raudman Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2010 ISBN: 9781400188369
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On Thanksgiving Day 2007, three generations of the Olson family gather. Eleanor and Gavin worry about their daughter, Ginny, an unmarried academic in her thirties with a newly adopted Indian daughter, and about their son, Douglas, who has recently been caught in the imploding real-estate bubble. But Ginny and Douglas, determined to have a perfect holiday, keep their troubles secret, a skill they have learned from their parents. As old grudges, personality clashes, and a stove malfunction spiral the Olson's holiday into a tense and foodless afternoon, seventeen-year-old Kijo Jackson and his best friend, Spider, set out from the housing projects on a mysterious job. As these two families-one white, one black-head toward a violent and inevitable encounter, Jennifer Vanderbes masterfully lays bare the fraught lives of these fascinating characters and the lengths to which they will go to protect their families. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • 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 Starred Review
  • “An inventively plotted, highly readable novel about white Americans’ overweening sense of entitlement.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 2/9/2014

    " This book is about disfunctional and tension filled family members getting together at Thanksgiving. After interesting backstories are presented ,tragedy occurs that change their lives forever. The way the story is written they were on this collision course as a result of their choices in pursuing their American dream. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/8/2014

    " 3.5 actually. A somewhat strange read. I think this will make for a good discussion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 2/4/2014

    " Started out really strong but lost a lot of momentum. I would have preferred just a family drama with solid plot of relationships and social mores without the drama of the home invasion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia Sanders | 1/18/2014

    " Strangers at the Feast is family drama at it's best. Many families keep secrets, but the members of this family did not seem to have much in common until a tragic holiday event. This is a riveting read and brings up many issues that would make for great book club discussions. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sherwestonstec | 1/8/2014

    " very good, thought provoking, and disturbing! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Haleigh | 1/3/2014

    " It was a different sort of thriller that was heavily focused on character development for the majority of the book, which I enjoyed. The ending was a little unsatisfying for me though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori T | 11/5/2013

    " This was a very suspenseful, fast read. I liked the way the author designated each chapter to be from the point of view of a different character, and in doing so, brought the whole story together. A bit disturbing, but definitely a good story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 9/25/2013

    " Very well done. A very different story than her earlier novel, Easter Island, but still featuring an anthropologist. Has a lot to say about contemporary family, American values, urban strife and race relations. Irony beautifully handled. Sad but well worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mia | 8/9/2013

    " I really liked the first half of this book, or maybe the first two-thirds. But not the last part at all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pam | 8/1/2013

    " Family portrait at Thanksgiving. Starts in the present time and then goes back and forth telling the back story and then proceeds again to tell where there lives are now which all leads up to an interesting confrontation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle Heurung | 7/29/2013

    " Really held my attention and loved the way Vanderbes developed her characters...each with specific chapters dedicated to them specifically throughout the story. The ending was a bit disappointing to me, however, I thoroughly enjoyed her plot line and was anxious to see how it developed. A good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 4/5/2013

    " Perfect for a bookgroup meeting in November. This novel takes place on Thanksgiving day and gives the reader much to think about and discuss. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Passagetx | 12/24/2012

    " This is a really, really, really fantastic novel. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nancy | 9/21/2012

    " Another well-regarded book that I didn't much like. I didn't find the characters relatable or sympathetic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Perkimom | 3/16/2012

    " Interesting characters and family dynamics as choices have consequences and families interact. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 12/6/2011

    " Depressing. What is the point of reading such angst inducing material? Sorry not for me! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Indlibrarystaff | 11/8/2011

    " Love the honesty and humor of the characters. Skillfully written. The audio version is cleverly narrated. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie | 5/21/2011

    " Anyone who loves good literature should read this. It flowed like a stream with no obstacles, read it in two days. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Delia | 4/5/2011

    " This was a very powerful novel that went in several different directions, but because the author is so good at her craft, she was able to pull it all together. I read this book in a day-and-a-half because I couldn't put it down. Well-written and very readable... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen | 2/25/2011

    " This book would have been an interesting discussion at book club! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jackie | 2/19/2011

    " I really liked this. A little more on the aftermath would have been good -- but I get where she was going with this. An easy read - I recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janelle | 2/16/2011

    " This book was good!I like the modern themes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 2/6/2011

    " Really good novel. I thought this was complex, layered, and well written. My only complaint was that it ended, as I would have liked to have seen more exploration of events that happened at the end of the novel (don't want to give anything away, so I will leave it at that). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Indlibrarystaff | 1/29/2011

    " Love the honesty and humor of the characters. Skillfully written. The audio version is cleverly narrated. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna | 1/17/2011

    " Well written, plot driven, but I was disturbed by the ending. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christine | 1/11/2011

    " Not as good as I thought it would be from reading the review in Oprah magazine. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia | 1/11/2011

    " Compelling, haunting, and suspenseful--- this book is oddly funny at times as well. How Vanderbes balances all of the various voices and emotions and themes of socio-economic status and intergenerational conflict makes this book a winner. It makes me want to read her first novel, Easter Island. "

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About the Author
Author Jennifer Vanderbes

Jennifer Vanderbes is the author of the novels Easter Island and Strangers at the Feast, and she is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a New York Public Library Cullman Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Granta and has been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in New York City with her daughter.

About the Narrator

Renée Raudman is an actor and multi-award-winning audiobook narrator. She has performed on film, television, radio, and on stage and can also be heard in several video games and hundreds of television and radio voice-overs.