I am attending a wedding this weekend and I have some wedding-themed literature lined up to read. I'll probably only manage to read one of the following but I thought I would share the ones that I have in mind. Do you like to theme your reading around things you are doing or places you are going? It isn't something that I do frequently but I thought it would be fun and weddings make me happy.
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers: With delicacy of perception and memory, humour and pathos, Carson McCullers spreads before us the three phases of a weekend crisis in the life of a motherless twelve-year-old girl. Within the span of a few hours, the irresistible, hoydenish Frankie passionately plays out her fantasies at her elder brother's wedding. Through a perilous skylight we look into the mind of a child torn between her yearning to belong and the urge to run away.
Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker: Cassandra Edwards is a graduate student at Berkeley: gay, brilliant, nerve-wracked, miserable. At the beginning of this novel, she drives back to her family ranch in the foothills of the Sierras to attend the wedding of her identical twin, Judith, to a nice young doctor from Connecticut. Cassandra, however, is hell-bent on sabotaging the wedding.
Dorothy Baker's entrancing tragicomic novella follows an unpredictable course of events in which her heroine appears variously as conniving, self-aware, pitiful, frenzied, absurd, and heartbroken—at once utterly impossible and tremendously sympathetic. Cassandra reckons with her complicated feelings about the sister who she feels owes it to her to be her alter ego; with her father, a brandy-soaked retired professor of philosophy; and with the ghost of her dead mother, as she struggles to come to terms with the only life she has.
First published in 1962, Cassandra at the Wedding is a book of enduring freshness, insight, and verve. Like the fiction of Jeffrey Eugenides and Jhumpa Lahiri, it is the work of a master stylist with a profound understanding of the complexities of the heart and mind.
The Wedding by Dorothy West: Set on the Elysian isle of Martha's Vineyardm among an insular community of proud and prosperous black families, Dorothy West's first novel for nearly fifteen years centres around the marriage of Shelby Coles, daughter of the community's foremost family to a struggling white jazz musician. Not just the story of one wedding, but of many, this thought-provoking and deeply interesting novel offers insights into issues of race, prejudice and identity while maintaining its firm belief in the compensatory power of love.
I also have The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty and The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood to hand but those are only wedding-themed in their similar titles only. I want to read all three of the books detailed above but I am leaning towards the one pictured and the one I know most about, Cassandra at the Wedding. Verity read this thematically over the summer and I have been saving it to read until I had a wedding to attend also.
Of course, it being the first weekend in December, I am also preparing a pile of Christmas reads but more on that another day...