Opening outwards from a keenly observed summer wedding drawn from the cream of the East Coast’s Black bourgeoisie, West’s neglected classic grows to encompass five generations of a remarkable American family. A triumphant exploration of racial prejudice and family life from a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance, The Wedding is a seminal work of the twentieth century.
With a new introduction by Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People.
Set on a bucolic Martha's Vineyard in the 1950s, The Wedding tells the story of life in the Oval, a proud, insular community made up of the best and brightest of the East Coast's black bourgeoisie. Within this inner circle of 'blue-vein society', we witness the prominent Coles family gather for the wedding of their loveliest daughter, Shelby, who could have chosen from 'a whole area of eligible men of the right colors and the right professions.' Instead, she has fallen in love with and is about to be married to Mead Wyler, a white jazz musician from New York. A shock wave breaks over the Oval as its longtime members grapple with the changing face of its community.
Not just the story of one wedding, but of many, this compelling story offers insights into issues of race, prejudice and identity while maintaining its firm belief in the compensatory power of love.
Through a delicate interweaving of past and present, North and South, black and white, The Wedding unfolds outward from a single isolated time and place until it embraces five generations of an extraordinary American family. It is an audacious accomplishment, a monumental history of the rise of a black middle class, written by a writer who lived it. Wise, heartfelt, and shattering, it is Dorothy West's crowning achievement.
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 194 g
Dimensions: 196 x 124 x 24 mm
'The tranquility of a late summer weekend in 1953 is shattered by a tragic accident in this spare, affecting novel by one of the last surviving members of the Harlem Renaissance ... Through the ancestral histories of the Coles family, West subtly reveals the ways in which color can burden and codify behavior. The author makes her points with a delicate hand, maneuvering with confidence and ease through a sometimes incendiary subject ... a triumph.' - Publisher's Weekly
'West is a wonderful storyteller, painting vivid and memorable scenes of the life and plight of African Americans from slavery to the fifties. The Wedding is an engrossing tale.' - USA Today
'In The Wedding, West brilliantly portrays the ferocity of class, race, and gender distinctions within family, groups, and generations.' - Entertainment Weekly
'You have only to read the first page to know that you are in the hands of a writer, pure and simple. At the end, it's as though we've been invited not so much to a wedding as to a full-scale opera, only to find that one great artist is belting out all the parts. She brings down the house.' - New York Times
'A writer of huge compassion and acute observation, and also of dazzling style . . . Her work is more relevant than ever.' - Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People
'Timelessly cinematic, with painterly visual descriptions and pitch-perfect dialogue that ranges across class, region, race, age, and gender.' - Emma Garman, Paris Review
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