The Thanksgiving Trilogy
A HALF CENTURY OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE MORAL AMBIVALENCE
The THANKSGIVING TRILOGY, a fifty year saga, follows a group of friends who left their blood families in the East and formed close relationships in the San Francisco Bay Area – a family formed in exile, as it were. The annual reunion of this “family” takes place at Thanksgiving dinners – a practice of many groups of exiles in the West. Each novel is complete in itself and could be published alone. Although the lives and relationships of the characters are paramount in the work, the three books present a portrait of the human and historical dilemmas in our country for half a century. American literature has long thrived on mining the specific regions that have contributed to the American ethos. THE THANKSGIVING TRILOGY exploits significant aspects of California: its vision of possibilities, its sense of exile and mobility, and its respect for the past – aspects that have contributed greatly to the development of American culture as a whole. The personal dramas within these three novels are set firmly into the western coastal landscape of the continent, a landscape that plays an important role in the development of the stories.
Crimes of Innocence (ISBN-13:978-1482591385), Book One of The Thanksgiving Trilogy, chronicles the dizzying plunge of a decent man, Jeremy Finch, into the earliest battles that helped define the protest movement of the 1960's. The movement coalesces in 1959 over three causes: the hearings of House Un-American Activities Committee, nuclear bomb testing, and the scheduled execution of Caryl Chessman. The novel explores the elusive boundary between “criminal” behavior and “moral” behavior. In the course of the novel, the family founds the Califia Institute, a think tank embracing the spectrum of American politics from “ideal-politic” to “real-politic.”
In Esau’s Mountain (ISBN-13:978-148259222), Book Two of The Thanksgiving Trilogy, a serial killer becomes obsessed with the Thanksgiving family and pursues the young women of the family through the parklands of Marin County, California on Thanksgiving Day. The serial killer operates very much like the “Real-Politicians” of most countries, who seek to realize their ideals, dreams, and desires through violence. Sections of the novel are presented from the point of view of the killer, a character whose humanity becomes central to the plot.
In What Rough Beast?(ISBN-13:978-1482592344), Book Three of The Thanksgiving Trilogy, Mickey O’Rourke, a fervently revolutionary young woman of the family’s third generation, travels to an Encounter with the Zapatista Peasants in the highland rain forests of Mexico. There she meets her Bolivian lover, who becomes the father of her son. She returns to Marin County to teach, to work at the Califia Institute, and to perform underground dissident work. By now the affectionate companions that had first gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving have developed into a troubled family, united and split by marriages, affairs, love and anger, political manipulation, conformity, and rebellion. When Mickey’s lover is arrested as a terrorist by Homeland Security, Mickey and the Califia Institute become targets of the U.S. security forces. At this time, Mickey faces the decision whether to flee the country with her son or to remain at home facing possible imprisonment.