Will Butterfield can't believe it. His 75–year–old mother, Holly, is drunk and threatening to jump off the roof. Again.
Holly and Fiona, another elderly relative, won't stop tormenting Will and his wife Elizabeth with their bizarre (though often amusing) antics. Between Will's worries about his bookstore, The Heart's Ease, and Elizabeth's troublesome high school students, dealing with "the crazies" has become just too much.
But then something unexpected happens –– Henry Ward, a neighborhood handyman, meets the two old women, and he, his daughter Alison, and grandchildren are drawn into the Butterfields' lives in surprising ways. Both a comedy and a love story –– a first for Bausch –– Thanksgiving Night is about the real meaning of family, and one particular clan that has many reasons to be thankful.
A house in Point Royal, Va., serves to entangle two families in clannish chaos. When local handyman Oliver Ward is summoned for a job at the house of Holly Grey and her aunt Fiona, he has no idea what to make of the two squabbling, headstrong old ladies who want to divide literally their house in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The two are known as "the Crazies" by Holly's son, bookstore owner Will Butterfield, and his wife, high school teacher Elizabeth, who are growing weary of their antics. But they pay Oliver, who begins working at the ladies' house. Oliver's daughter, policewoman and single mother Alison, is later called in to help talk Holly off the roof during a drunken dispute. Meanwhile, Will's grown children, Mark and Gail, from his first marriage (to another Elizabeth, who abandoned the family) are in disagreement over whether they should hunt down their long-gone mother. There are digressions: Gail's sexual identity is an open question; Elizabeth's students are fractious; Will finds himself tempted by a sexy, none-too-stable bartender. When Oliver has a stroke on the job, the two families are thrown together at Holly and Fiona's as the Thanksgiving holiday draws nigh. Author of nine novels and five story collections, Bausch (Wives & Lovers) engages stock characters and a predictable theme of holiday forgiveness this time out, but he injects some crackle into the heartwarming elements.