To the Wedding

ISBN: 0747525749
ISBN 13: 9780747525745
By: John Berger

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Reader's Thoughts


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.


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. Ick.


Ten huwelijk is een moderne vertelling rondom de onvergankelijke thema’s als liefde, dood, schuld en boete. Een prachtige roman over een gedoemde liefde. Al maakt Berger het de lezer niet makkelijk door voortdurend van tijd, plaats en verteller te wisselen. De wirwar van verhaallijnen die hier een gevolg van is, ontneemt de lezer soms het zicht op de schoonheid van het verhaal. Maar wie volhardt, wordt beloond met een grootse viering van het leven.Zie voor een uitgebreidere recensie:


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. the choppy style seemed intentional and although i liked it at times, it made it harder to connect to the characters.


Poetic, lyrical in some ways...completely emotional. Probably the best review of this book is on the back cover, a quote from Michael Ondaatje "Wherever I live in the world, I know I will have this book with me." It's important to carry around the books you love and this one definitely made an impression on me both times I read it.


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 marry her betrothed. She wants to spare him the ordeal of her coming death but he eventually wins her over.The best part of this novel is the ending when the wedding takes place. It's a joyful and happy event even though the couple knows they won't have a long life together.This is the first book by John Berger that I've read. I'm sorry I wasn't able to give it more stars.

Ferhat Karaağaç

Masalsı bir anlatımı var kitabın. Dibine kadar gerçekçi, vurucu sahneleri de .. Alt metinde, hangi karaktetle özdeşleştirirsen özdeşleştir kendini, direnme eylemi yatıyor. Gino, Ninon direniyor...!


I'm sure some people loved this book (like the woman who wrote the foreword in my copy) but I just didn't 'get it'!I didn't like how it was written and the words just didn't flow for me. The lack of punctuation was odd and with some sections I didn't even know who was speaking. I even checked to see if the author was foreign and it may have just been a bad translation.I've been generous and given it 3 stars because I guess I'm a romantic and I approved that Ninon & Gino got together in the end but on the whole I didn't really get the point of the story.

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.

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 six pages without really being able to recall what's happened.I really want to like his novels, and I know I could if I was in the right mindset, and I've tried several times with his "most accessible" novels, but the magic hasn't happened yet.


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, the boxer, says I’m mad. He says I’m throwing my life away. That’s what most people do, I say, not me.’The journey to the marriage unfolds itself in slow, separate treks (Ninon’s father Jean travels to Gorino (a small place near Venice, where the Po river meets the see) from France, Ninon’s mother Zdena starts her quest in Bratislava… The fragments of the story are held together by the Greek narrator Tsobanakos (‘This means a men who herds sheep.’) who, like the blind clairvoyant Tiresias, obtains his information listening to the voices he hears, the visions he has… In his latest work, ‘Letters from A to X’, Berger equally describes a man who is almost blind but thanks to that sees also what’s in the distance: ‘Behind the thick lenses of his glasses his eyes are strange, because they are both concentrated and distant, as though they were looking at two things at the same time – at whatever is in front of him and, simultaneously, at the word or words representing it.’For the reader who persists, as Gino persists, Berger has a gift in store: a breathtaking climax, a feast of romance and love, containing the images of death.Gradually you get swept away on the tide of storylines bound for the same destination, coming together like the waters of the Po river, broad, slowly dragging it’s tail to the sea, to the place called Gorino, where the wedding will take place. ‘The ancients believed that the first act of creation was the separation of earth and sky and this was difficult, for earth and sky desired one another and did not want to separate. Around Gorino the land has become water to stay as close as possible to the sky, to reflect it as in a mirror.’The introduction to this edition quotes Geoff Dyer who once said of Berger that he ‘reminds us of what most contemporary writing would have us to forget, which is that great writers are distinguished, ultimately, by the quality of their humanity.’And therefore, reading (and rereading) Berger always feels like a rare privilege.

Leni Rayburn

The structure of the novel is unique; the omniscient "frame narrator" tells the story of Nonin & her beloved Gino & their circuitous path to marriage. This narrator, peddler of religious medals is only peripheral to the story he tells. Nonin & her mother are also characters who "see" the stories of others. In the telling of her beautiful country wedding, he weaves in the story of Nonin's last days & the loving devotion of her husband.


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 of incredible imagery and almost-poetic prose. The final scene, the wedding of the title, is fantastically realised, and the way he flits between the wedding and Ninon's fate is utterly masterful.Highly recommended but be warned; it is difficult to get your head around to start with.

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


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 this. He makes me want to re-examine what it means to love, to be an Italian, and how the human heart can only work when it is broken and repaired in a daily practice of living in the present. Simply beautiful!

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