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To the Wedding Paperback – March 19, 1996

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Editorial Reviews Review

With the sensuous eye and profound sense of history that have made him one of the most acclaimed living novelists, John Berger, author of G., tells the story of a wedding that takes place in a Europe that is approaching the end of the century, a place where everything has changed - and not even the certainties of love are exempt. This is Berger's fin de siecle , a transcendent celebration of passion at the end of our millennium.

From Publishers Weekly

British novelist and art critic Berger's novel is a bittersweet love story celebrating post-Cold War Europe.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (March 19, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679767770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679767770
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #811,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Berger was born in London in 1926. He is well known for his novels and stories as well as for his works of nonfiction, including several volumes of art criticism. His first novel, A Painter of Our Time, was published in 1958, and since then his books have included the novel G., which won the Booker Prize in 1972. In 1962 he left Britain permanently, and he lives in a small village in the French Alps.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Robert Spencer on March 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
It has now been several years since I read this book, and it still haunts me with its beauty and wisdom. I have read only 1 other of his books (Pig Earth), but on the strength of those alone, I think he should get a Nobel for literature. Not because writing is a contest but because then more people would read his books. Someone earlier in these reviews said this is the great novel to end this sorry sad century on, and I agree. Many things are wonderful about this book: the way characters' lives twine in and ut of the story like a jazz piece, all coalescing at the end; the characters themselves, even minor ones, will touch your heart. The story itself is both of tragedy and joy, of searching and finding,and finally, of the redemption of love even in our battered age. The event around which the book centers is specific and modern, but also symbolizes the fragility of all our lives and the necessity to love even in the face of the absurdity of existance. And, for these people, in the great book, that's enough. It works.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Monika on March 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
This was definitely a different reading experience for me. At first I wasn't quite sure what was going on, or what the point was, but when I got to about page 75, it suddenly all started coming together. So a word of advice to anyone having trouble "getting into" this one: Just keep going! It does make sense eventually. I can't reveal too much without spoiling the story, but after the relatively long "set up" period, the story really does start to move. Once I understood what was happening, I couldn't put the book down, and finished it in a single day. By the time I'd reached the end, I was very impressed with Berger's work.

"To the Wedding" is narrated by a blind Greek street-peddler. He sells tamata, small metal charms supposed to bring relief to those who suffer. One day, a man stops at the stall to buy a tama for his daughter. "Where is she suffering?" the peddler asks. "Everywhere," the father replies. He buys a tama and goes on his way. The street peddler never meets him, or his daughter, again. But he tells us a story about the girl, Ninon, and the preparations for her marriage to a man called Gino.

This is a love story, but it is also much more. The more I reflect upon it, the more I get out of it, and I'm sure I would gain an even deeper appreciation upon reading it a second time. It explores what it means to love someone, the relationship of sex and love, and different ways to approach life in the face of knowledge of one's own mortality. If you know you are going to die in only a few years, what do you do? How do you live your life in the time between now and then? And is love in the present dependent on the possibility of having a future, or is it unconditional, in the moment?
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on February 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
There is an event in this book that demonstrates the wonderful manner that John Berger consistently illuminates his readers, and his characters. The task in and of itself is of no great note; a small boat is guided from the shore to a small island. Gino who is taking his reluctant fiancé on the trip guides the boat. Ninon is not concerned about the trip rather Gino's insistence that they marry. The trip to the island is accomplished in several steps to allow for currents both known and unpredictable. When the crossing is accomplished and Ninon continues to question the point of the exercise, Gino explains it has nothing to do with the island as a destination, but the trip that illustrates, "how we're going to live".
The couple decides to marry but before they do human weakness steps in and irrevocably alters the future they had planed. Neither conventional wisdom nor anyone who knows either member of the couple believes the wedding should take place. The bride to be is amongst those who wish to see the union forever cancelled. Gino is the only person willing to see through what his love for this woman has become for him, a commitment without condition.
The Author surrounds this couple with all the variants of marriage. He includes the innocent moments that lead to the first shared intimacies, and he has the unions that have failed to overcome the difficulties they encountered. Throughout this process he forces the reader to make some difficult observations either personally or through a given character they may identify with. The Wedding that is supposed to take place is like a vortex drawing all the participants and observers to the main event, the core. When all the players have made their own journeys, Gino is no longer the odd man out.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Juan Mobili on August 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is one of those jewels that, by itself, make learning to read the most important thing we learned, and having a heart the most profound gift we were ever given. The story is a story of love. Of how love survives on love alone, and we are its humble witnesses.

Berger weaves the longings and fears of people, like you and I, wrestling with living, meeting and knowing, carving some faith out of this world. I purposely abstain from telling the story in concrete terms. I leave it to you to discover it and paint their lives with your own colors.

This is about a story of faith, faith on love and its simplicity and depth. Faith on another whose faith is offered to us. Berger's narration is a lesson to every writer who ever long to disappear behind his or her words. A gift to every reader hungering for the beauty and warmth of true language. In times, like ours, when self-reflection is invaded by the jargon of self-help, and everyone seems to sound like everyone else--pain a! nd experience stripped from their detail--John Berger gives us people with souls and doubts and joys of their own.

If this book doesn't make you better, it sure will make you kinder.

PS: You can find my in-depth review at
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