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To the Wedding

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,219 ratings  ·  106 reviews
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 transcen ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 30th 1996 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 1995)
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Nancy Rossman
POV shifts, time shifts, first person to third person in conversations.

I lived in Seattle from 1980-1995, a quite enjoyable time when Seattle was still rich in creativity and yet understated. So there were Rainier beer commercials that were just out there, a thrill to watch but often not able to comprehend. Many suggested that the writers sequestered, lit a joint, and then wrote the commercial. THAT is what this book felt like. Only those commercials were much MUCH better
Jan Leent
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 inte
To the Wedding is a small book that addresses the large issues of love, divorce, disease, separation and ideology common to late twentieth century life, in tenderly observant prose. John Berger, author of G, Pig Earth and many other novels, understands small kindnesses, great compassion and the joys of a shared life, not only between lovers but amongst a community.

A blind Greek storyteller relates a new tale he's heard about the wedding of a young girl, Ninon, and her beloved Gino, whose passio
Immediatamente, la scrittura di Berger mi avvolge familiare, mi solleva e mi trasporta in un viaggio alla fonte del mito e del tempo.
Un viaggio fatto di nomi epici scelti con cura.
Di geografie dello spazio e della mente sapientemente intrecciate.
Entro in appartamenti fatti apposta per lunghe chiacchierate e conosco gente che non avrà mai il futuro per cui altri hanno sacrificato tutto il passato.
Attraverso spiagge disseminate di ma
I have read Berger as a source for my art History degree and found his writing insightful and thought provoking but he does need work to get to the gist of his criticsm. I've never read his fiction.
The rhythm of this book is a bit difficult to start with. Other readers have found it hard to get into. I would recommend reading this in as short a space of time as possible. This helps to keep the rhythms and stories fresh in your mind so you don't have to work to pick up the thread again.
So having
Jenny (Reading Envy)
"With music, hope too enters the body."

This is a quick read about a wedding, told from various perspectives, and as it unfolds you realize that events are not as happy as a wedding would typically be. I wasn't really into it, with the quick snippets of thought and changing narration, until Zdena connects with a man on the bus, and suddenly it became this touching connected story.

"Life depends on it... none of us can stop. You pick up something here, you take something there, you wake up with an
Kristal Cooper
Another review called this book "lyrical fiction" and I think that's appropriate because it contains many beautiful descriptions and analogies. Unfortunately, it jumps around between storylines, characters and times quickly and without warning. Because of that, it's the kind of book I would have put down because I don't like stories that are so dis-jointed. (I stuck with it only because I have the audio version and I need something to pass time on my commute to work.) In the end, I realized that ...more
Interesting book, well written but I found it a bit confusing as it's written in first person.
I couldn't resist this book when I saw that Michael Ondaatje had written the following endorsement for it: "A great, sad, tender lyric, a novel that is a vortex of community and compassion that somehow overcomes fate and death. Wherever I lie in the world, I know I will have this book with me." The book is indeed special and at times stunning, but it was hard for me to get past Berger's style. To me it seemed a bit too mannered, too deliberate.
Such a special book. It's hard to have your heart in the right place as a storyteller, to love people and hate what we do to the world and to each other. Berger deftly maneuvers to create this perfect melancholic space to hold the kind of joy he wants to summon. It's a rite of renewal in the form of a book. Sometimes Berger misses with his novels, maybe even most of the time, but when he hits he hits.
Jim Coughenour
John Berger's fiction is sometimes a bit too mannered for me, too deliberately artistic. To the Wedding comes perilously close to that edge but I read it in one long sitting and by the end (to employ an apt cliché) it took my breath away. I was stunned by its beauty.

This was one of the worst reads I've had in a long time. It was slow, difficult to tell who was narrating, and did not provide you enough insight into any of the main characters for you to care about then, and then it got super depressing.

Reading John Berger always feels like a rare privilege.
‘To the wedding’ is not a straight story chronologically told, but an almost impressionistic, wrenching tale of two young lovers. Ninon has captured HIV and wants Gino to leave her. But while she is wrestling with the death she carries, Gino persists and persuades her to marry him knowing they might perhaps just count on two or three years. ‘We are going to live the years with craziness and cunning and care. All three. The three Cs. Matteo,
To the Wedding is a fictional romance set in Europe. Things have been going fine for Ninon and she's just met Gino, a man with whom she starts a romantic relationship. Everything is beautiful and her future seems endless until she discovers that she has contracted HIV from a previous one-night stand. Ninon wants Gino to leave her, until he decides to marry her anyway. So begins the journey to the wedding.

I have to say, this book has it's flaws.

At first I thought that the pace of this book was ex
I first encountered John Berger when a poetry professor assigned "Ways of Seeing." "To the Wedding" similarly is a novella that relies heavily on the powers of imagery and perspective; indeed, the story is first narrated by a blind merchant. I read another review of "To the Wedding" that describes the story as cinematic, and I'd agree with that - I don't know enough about movie directors to draw an apt comparison, but I hope it will be sufficient to say that it could be a movie shown at IFC. The ...more
SPOILER ALERT*** I've had this book on my shelf for several years and finally got around to reading it. The setting is Europe at the turn of this century and the main event happens in Italy. I had a hard time getting into the book but, I hung in there, and it did get better as it progressed. I wasn't sure which character's narrative I was reading at times because it jumped around so much. It isn't a 'light' read because it's such a sad story about a young lady with AIDS who is determined not to ...more
David Biddle
Some of the more spectacular and moving writing I've encountered about life and love. Beautiful all the way around. One of those books we should read over and over throughout the years. I'd pair it with Annie Dillard's The Maytrees"The Maytrees"
A beautifully written tale, melancholic, non-linear tale of a young girl discovering she has AIDS, her resistance to marrying her lover, her parents' grief as they travel across Europe to her wedding and the fragility of human relationships. The narrative structure is interesting, told through the 'eyes' of a blind Greek market trader, and the reader never really knows whether what they are being told is real or a figment of the Greek's imagination.

Either way, Berger weaves a moving story full o
Lynne Norman
Beautifully written and like nothing else I've read before, 'To The Wedding' still, unfortunately, failed to connect with me emotionally. Whilst I found it an accessible enough read, the strange narrative style - no punctuation to indicate speech, jumping between storyteller and subjects - meant that I had to work too hard to keep track of the plot to invest in the characters. I'm afraid I didn't 'get' why the tale was told by an old blind peddlar, who had nothing whatsoever to do with the peopl ...more
Berger's writing style reminds me a lot of that of Michael Ondaatje, who incidentally writes a little recommendation for this book on the back cover. Just so beautifully poetic, and I feel as if he captures that European rhythm so well, I feel as if this was translated from another language. And it was so oddly timeless too, I kept forgetting that this was supposed to be in a modern-day setting. My favourite part of the book were the bits where you got to see Ninon's character, and I almost wish ...more
Owen Curtsinger
Every time I pick up a John Berger novel, I think that I'll love it, but every time I try to read a John Berger novel, I can never finish; I get lost and confused by the seemingly irrelevant snippets of images that bubble up. Adding to that is the feeling that the narrative style is so soft that it doesn't drive with a serious plea for the reader to try and make sense of any of those images. The result is that certain elements and images will pass by unnoticed until I've realized that I've read ...more
a lovely narrative about how each person's life touches so many lives. or i think that's it... the many voices often confused me, but the imagery let me fell what the blind man felt and see and experience what ninon and the other characters lived.
I used to have a favorite book: The Silent Duchess (La Lunga Vita di Marianna Ucria) by Dacia Maraini, and now it has been replaced. I listened to Berger's To the Wedding on audible twice within two days. I cried, I laughed and I was mesmerized by his prose. He constructs metaphors in a beautiful poetic space that is almost as good as painting. I want to re-read it and quote it and make paintings about this book. The narration on audible is quite good, and I want someone to make a movie from thi ...more
Corinne Wasilewski
Beautifully written, but, in a way that touches the mind, not, the heart, that is until the very end which is perfect in every way -- masterful. There the story alternates between scenes of the wedding and scenes of the final days of the young bride's life spent in the company of her beloved. It is an ending that captures the heart and the mind.
In essence, this story depicts life as a journey and tells how even the briefest encounters have the power to harm or to heal us in significant ways. T
Randy Cauthen
This book kicks ass.
One of the best, most moving novels I've read in years.
I was choked up through the whole last 30 pages. Go read it.
this might be the strangest review i have ever written:

the book was a little choppy in the beginning and i was not really enjoying it. i kept going and then considered putting it down each time i picked it up. but i am glad i kept reading.

for those considering reading it, or who just started, and cannot get through the beginning. skip to page 73, read from there. if you are still not hooked, put it down. you do not need most of the beginning to enjoy the rest of the book from page 73 onward.

It is a well-written book, but not my style. I think it took me to the middle to figure out what was going on. Very poetic.
'Uzun uzun düşündükten sonra ikimiz de kuş ıslığı yapmanın bu dünyada bizim yapabileceğimiz ve bize yaşama olanağı sağlayacak en az zararlı şey olduğu sonucuna vardık.'
Milton Brasher-Cunningham
A beautifully sad and lyrical love story woven together with skill and kindness. Amazing.
Joe Williams
I can't add much to what's already been said both good and bad about this book. Parts of it were wonderful: Jean in the shack by the river, giving the boys motorcycle rides. What did it mean? I don't care; it was fun to read. Parts were almost haunting. Poetic? Almost lyrical?

The shifting perspective was jarring but enjoyable. I appreciated the attempt.

What will I remember about this book in six months? I don't know but I enjoyed it.

This book was a book-club selection and it will be interesting
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John Peter Berger is an English art critic, novelist, painter and author. His novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize, and his essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing, written as an accompaniment to a BBC series, is often used as a college text.
More about John Berger...
Ways of Seeing About Looking G. And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos Pig Earth

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