Review: To the Wedding

To the Wedding
To the Wedding by John Berger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A sublime, moving and tender novel about love, life, hope, consolation and the foreseen soon death of the bride due to AIDS.

The main storyline of this small novel tells the story of the two parents of the bride – estranged for many years – travelling “To the Wedding” and finishes at the wedding celebration.

One small example of the many jewels in this novel:
The mother of the bride meets a co-passenger in a bus. The co-passenger says that the bridegroom has never learned to count. The mother interrupts: “If he sells clothes at a streetmarket, I’d have thought he could count!” “Prices, yes, consequences, no”, says the co-passenger.

In my opinion the bridegroom is fully aware of all the consequences.

A second storyline includes a blind man selling “tama’s” – small tin objects for hope, blessing or consolation – at a streetmarket. The novel ends on the last page with the observation that for this wedding another “tama” was needed, made this time not in tin but with voices. Here it is. Place it by the candle when you pray…

So true.

This small novel deserves to be reread every year as a reminder what life is, and as one of the answers to the question: “Why don’t people learn to live”.

Recommended, especially the edition with the introduction by Nadeem Aslam.

View all my reviews


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