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Extended Audio Sample The Wedding Audiobook, by Dorothy West Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.78 out of 53.78 out of 53.78 out of 53.78 out of 53.78 out of 5 3.78 (23 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Dorothy West Narrator: Regina Taylor Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 1998 ISBN: 9780743547772
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From Dorothy West, the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance, The Wedding is an intimate glimpse into African American middle class. Set on bucolic Martha’s Vineyard in the 1950s, this is 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 the 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 Meade 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.

With elegant, luminous prose, Dorothy West crowns her literary career by illustrating one family’s struggle to break the shackles of race and class.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 2/19/2014

    " This short novel covered an immense amount of ground without every feeling overstuffed or superficial. The Wedding is also absolutely American in subject matter and feel. It is a portrait of the Coles, a wealthy African-American family in the 1950s, as they vacation at their Martha's Vineyard summer home and prepare for the upcoming wedding of their younger daughter Shelby. West perfectly captures the warm, languid feel of a New England late summer of leisure as well as the loving comforts and frictions of familial bonds. West also does a lovely job of weaving together the present day with vignettes from the characters' pasts and the longer saga of the family's history. These stories provide a probing illustration of issues of race, complexion, class, and social status. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ariadne | 2/17/2014

    " In addition to treating the complexities of race and class quite well, West use of language painted the most vivid images that I have ever experienced in reading a book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharan | 2/15/2014

    " Taut, precise prose...renders characters brilliantly, laying them bare with language that thrums, sings, singes--like lightning passed through the room. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shayna | 2/10/2014

    " One of my favorite books EVER!! Ms. West certainly outdid herself with this one. The story of Shelby's family sounded like mine, so I really connected with that character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea Fortwendel | 2/9/2014

    " Dorothy West aptly expresses the complexity of one's identity in her novel, The Wedding. The reader finds herself judging and empathizing with many of the characters as they face choices in their lives and contemplate a very gray future. I recommend the read just on the complexity of charcter that it offers for race and class and the challenges of a gray morality that it lends. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Ann | 2/8/2014

    " West is a masterful writer. This is a compelling read of the upper middle class African American families who summer on Martha's Vineyard (Ms. West lives there), and what happens when a young woman of one of the prominent families there is getting ready for her marriage to a white jazz musician. Great depiction of issues of race, intermarriage and class. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kishanna Laurie | 2/2/2014

    " Beautifully written by one of the lesser known Harlem Renaissance writers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynette | 1/31/2014

    " Read this before Oprah had Halle Berry star in her make of the movie...worth a read if you can get over trying to avoid books recommended by Oprah ;) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lia | 1/20/2014

    " Such a fantastic book up until the last couple pages. West writes with ease that gently moves the reader along. The familial histories and stories were strong and I ate it up. The end was disappointing, but it doesn't detract too greatly from an otherwise good book and model writing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adrian | 1/17/2014

    " For some reason I really didn't like this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa | 1/11/2014

    " This one is for the book group and I'm struggling with it... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul Smith | 1/7/2014

    " A remarkably interesting read, especially since the author totally reverses the "show don't tell" maxim. The ending doesn't quite deliver what the lead-up promises -- but this quick read is well worth it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jodi Clyde-Rozos | 1/3/2014

    " LOVED THIS BOOK!! read it 2x. ( very rare for me) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sophia Walker | 1/1/2014

    " Lovely book that had race, class and skin tone as underlying themes in the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronda | 12/6/2013

    " I truly enjoy the writings of Dorothy West. I discovered her when I was vacationing in Martha's Vineyard. I gained an appreciation for the black elite in the 1950's through reading her writings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberlyn | 11/1/2013

    " truly interesting book. excellent character development "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Whitney | 9/17/2013

    " Another wedding on Nantucket . . . but this time the family is an upper middle class black family, descendants of slavery. Beautifully written (I know I say this a lot), but sad at times. interesting commentary on race, skin color and love. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 2/1/2013

    " I read this book many years ago and it took me a couple of tries before falling in love with this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cyndie | 1/20/2013

    " I thought this book was hard to follow, but I have to also admit that I read it over the course of a year with books in the middle. I got lost with all the characters though. Maybe if I had read it start to finish, it would have been more impressive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol Leashefski | 1/10/2013

    " This book started out slow for me. It took me some time to really get into the book and then the ending sent an important message. However; I did not see that type of ending coming so I was disappointed when the book just simply ended the way it did. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 9/2/2012

    " Really liked this family saga. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 7/27/2012

    " I really loved reading this book even though it is a bit dated. It was a good summer read. Hated the end. What was the point of that? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Loria | 5/31/2012

    " I enjoy the book. The detail she gave to each family like you were right there in Martha Vinyard. I plan on reading more of Dorothy West. "

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