To the Wedding by John Berger

Check goodreads, one friend has read it, none have written about it.

True he’s won the Booker, which could explain it. But on the other hand, surely one has a heart for his subsequent actions? Upon discovering that the Booker is a prize generated from slave money, he gave half of it to the Black Panthers. The other half was, I believe, earmarked for a project for farm labour in Europe. If all Booker prizer winners are guilty of sharing in the spoils of slavery, surely he comes off best of them.

Is it for the reason I think kicks in most often, he is in the period that is just before this one and therefore to be disdained. That is to say, a greater period of time between the reader and the artist may see him reinstalled. We despise the recent past.

Is it because he is communist and therefore holds an attitude to life currently scorned?

Is it because he is stand alone good at several things – writing, painting, art criticism – and therefore to be looked down upon? We hates all rounders don’t we precious.

Is it because he is communist and there is an automatic presumption of heavy handed didactism? But nothing could be further from the truth. He writes with a light touch of sad things. He writes as (all?) artists write, he paints the page with words. You see through his painter’s eyes. And yes, you also see through the eyes of one who cares for the poor, the downtrodden, the marginalised.

There are two endings here, the storyteller’s woven ending which softens you up for the real one, which made my stomach crumple. But I don’t know one person who has read it – and in general online as far as I can see nobody gets it, obvious as it seems to be.

I hope some people read it. Please let me know if you do – or have!

4 thoughts on “To the Wedding by John Berger

  1. Dear Cathy

    I spoke to Jim Plaskett at the time, read detailed extracts from the book and because of the play appearing, renewed chat with Jim in recent months on the subject. The story, as he tells it, changed greatly over time. The Major clearly acted, whilst still in the studios, very oddly. Totally different from a dethroned winner. Tarrant said on TV that he heard an awful row brewing. (he was half listening through a window). Surely – all things being equal – he would have noted nothing but jubilation? But no.

    When told of the problem over the ‘phone, the Major said OK and replaced the receiver. No retort, swearing, incredulity.

    Anyway, glad you liked the book!

    James

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