Joyce's Reviews > To the Wedding

To the Wedding by John Berger
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's review
Feb 21, 11

bookshelves: fiction
Read in February, 2011

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 passion for Ninon knows no boundaries. Told from a variety of perspectives that our Greek initially hears, we listen to Ninon's dreams and plans for her future away from her small French village. We eavesdrop on her new life in Italy where she meets Gino and they both come to grips with a modern day monster. We hear Gino's father's objections, we hear Ninon's own objections while from above we watch and hear Jean, her father, travel on his motorcycle from France to Italy along the river Po. We also eavesdrop on Zdena, Ninon's mother, who's taking a bus from Bratislava to Venice, where she boards a ferry and meets Jean for the final leg of their journey.

I believe one reviewer called this book almost cinematic, a conclusion its lovely descriptions and short poignant vignettes might induce. Perhaps it would make a good movie, but Berger's insight and understanding of the human condition extends beyond what can be conveyed by cinematic "reality" to truth and to hope.
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