- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (March 19, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679767770
- ISBN-13: 978-0679767770
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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To the Wedding Paperback – March 19, 1996
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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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Top customer reviews
The most emotional part of this book, to me, was when Ninon was diagnosed with HIV. Readers experience a whirlwind of feelings such as heartbreak and shock. She finds herself questioning her entire life, which is ending due to one night of passion. Gino’s ability to love Ninon despite her solid fate is inspiring, and makes readers cry and smile simultaneously. There are other parts of this book that made jerk, such as when she confronts the man who has infected her.
This novel came out during a time when AIDS was devastating the nation; when being diagnosed was an automatic death sentence. Readers of a younger age are given a look of how despairing this period was. One of my favorite scenes is the attempted rape. Ninon is walking through a park when a man attempts to assault her. She tries to fight him off, repeatedly saying “I’m infected! I’m infected!”. The offender hears this, and immediately stops himself, accusing her of trying to spread her virus. The local onlookers, who have seen exactly what has occurred, side with the rapist.
I feel that Gino really saved Ninon in a way. After learning of her illness, she is withdrawn from others and feels incapable of being loved. She constantly pushes him away, stating that there is no forever with her, but he never budges. He insists on loving her for the short period of time they have left.
While To The Wedding teaches one to love without fear, there are a few shortcomings. The vignettes are a little confusing for one to read. There is no identification of the speaker, which confuses the reader. When I first starting reading, I found it too complex, and strongly considered abandoning it. But as I got into it, I understood the setting and knew which character was speaking. That’s the beauty of this book: although difficult to get into, you won’t want to put it down when you do. The reader grows captivated with the story and wants to know how it ends. Without giving any spoilers, I will say that this book has one of the most peaceful conclusions I have ever read.
I highly recommend this book to those who are interested in romance and/or the AIDS era. It is truly a poignant tale of sacrificing your dreams for the one whose dreams you want to make come true.
The book is written in a strange way. I looked up John Berger and found he is an artist among his other professions, therefore he is quite visual. The story begins with a blind Greek, story begins in Greece. A man, a loving father, buys a tamata, an object buyers purchase to obtain a blessing. This man has a sick daughter, his only child. Nanon is twenty four and in love, now is found to have AIDS. She must never marry, she will give her fiancee her disease, She will die soon.
Nanon, three years ago, had a one night sexual affair with a stranger. This man had escaped from prison. Possibly Berger disapproves of unprotected sex, sex outside of love and marriage. But who knows.
This book goes in and out of the heads of several characters, the blind Greek, Nanon, her father Jean, her mother Zdena. The book also skips time back and forth. It is a short read. only 201 pages.
Nanon moves to Italy, wanting to get away from the little mountain town in the French Alps where she has always lived. She wants adventure, fun, she meets Gino, falls in love, looks forward to marriage, family, a home by the sea where all the windows of her home will look out at water. Then she gets sick, goes to a doctor, finds she has AIDs, will not live very long. She tries to end her engagement. Gino will have none of this. He loves her though family and friends are against this marriage. Nanon loves the Po River, wants to live where the Po meets the sea. Nanon remembers back to when she was a small child, how her father drove her around on his motorcycle, he loves to ride, loves his cycle, loves Nanon. Nanon is her father's pride and joy, her mother went back to Bratislava when she was seven. She thinks of helping her aunt with the wash, Aunt Claire who loves birds, has a flock of pet geese, the beauty of life which would soon be no more.
Nanon visits the man who gave her AIDs in prison. She wants to kill him for stealing her future. He is very sick and tells her we are all going to die. Gino's father is upset. His son, who has so much promise as an entrepreneur, is so stubborn. He is throwing his life away, he will lose his future, will contact AIDs. The father even thinks of shooting her.
Father Jean drives his motorcycle across the Alps to attend his daughter's wedding. Readers meet characters he comes into contact along his journey. His cycle attracts much attention among young men. Mother Zdena is on her way from Bratislava. She befriends a male fellow traveler and tells him of her daughter's upcoming wedding and that the girl has AIDs, something Zdena never told even her closest friends.
This book is kind of hard to get into. Readers take a vicarious trip across parts of Europe. Delightful! Enjoyable! Also there is a short history of Venice. The blind Greek never tells how he became blind. He seems to be telling the story and be part of the wedding. It is a beautiful wedding. LIfe is to be lived and enjoyed because who knows when it will be over.
more poetry than traditional narrative.
It is a story of the blooming of love between a man
and a woman. They become engaged. However, the woman
becomes aware that she is HIV-positive and tries to
break off the engagement. The man will not hear of
this and the wedding proceeds as scheduled. How can
one bear to marry a loved one only to know that they
will lose them shortly? This book is about the power
of love to surmount the ravages of the body.
The book goes back and forward in time, telling the
stories of each character and their personal relation-
ships with each other. It is a story that will stay
with you long after you have read the last page.