On the island of Martha's Vineyard in the 1950s there exists a proud, insular, nearly unassailable community known as the Oval, made up of the best and brightest of New York's and Boston's black bourgeoisie. Dr. Clark Coles and his wife Corinne, pillars of this community, are mortified that their youngest daughter Shelby is set on marrying Meade Wyler, a white jazz musicia...more
I knew of West from reading Zora Neal Hurston and studying the Harlem Renaissance in high school and college.
This is a fine book, the first West had written in two score years.
It's about a lineage of enslaved and free blacks and a host of blue-veined white people, too. From the days of the Preacher and Ebo ...more
Quotes I liked: (p. 93) "And to win she will have to fight back without bitterness, not replacing her hurt with hate but letting that hurt enrich her expe ...more
Dorothy West's life stretched across nearly the entire 20th century (1901 -1998) but she blessed us a few years before her death (1995) with this intergenerational story in which she illuminates the social divisions of well-off blacks who created a "society" and culture based largely upon wealth and skin color.
West herself, the daughter of a freed slave turned successful businessman, actually summered in Martha's Vineyard where the novel is set, imparting a much-appreciated authenticity to THE ...more
The Wedding is set on the East Coast during the 1950s in a community known as the Oval, where middle and upper class African Americans live. The Coles’ daughter, Shelby, decided to marry out of her race and her class and it causes distress in her family. There is a back story about each family member because of their differing opinions involving the wedding. Her grandmother, her parents, and her sister are the main focus of the different stories and they show how they gr ...more
Content: 0-1 star
Delivery: 0-1 star
Relevance: 0-1 star
Impact: 0-1 star
Bonus (if warranted by additional components of the book that enhanced my experience with the read): 0-1 star
Why I read this book:
This is the book of the month for my book club. Also, fiction really isn't my genre of choice, but I wanted to step outside my comfort zone. Finally, I'd heard good things about Dorothy West's writings, so I decided to give it a shot.
Anyway, about the book. The simplistic writing style worked here, even though it's not usually my cup of tea. I really loved how West explai ...more
"I spent the day in a nightmare. I watched a parade of dead souls. They had died in my houses. They had died hemorrhaging life. But others kept coming up from the South, looking to claim their piece of the promised land. My houses stayed full. My profits never fell. That property paid for itself a hundred times over. But I didn’t know I was making a deal with death. I never deserved to be a doctor’s wife. I wanted the label without the loneliness. You live to make live. Yo ...more
"The Living is Easy" (w ...more
Dorothy West was a novelist and short story writer who was part of the Harlem Renaissance. She is best known for her novel The Living Is Easy, about the life of an upper-class black family.
West's principal contribution to the Harlem Renaissance was to publish the magazine C ...more