A Wedding in December: A Novel by Anita Shreve

By Anita Shreve

At an lodge within the Berkshire Mountains, seven former schoolmates assemble to rejoice a wedding--a reunion that turns into the party of surprising revelations because the buddies jointly keep in mind a long-ago evening that indelibly marked each one in their lives. Written with the fluent narrative artistry that distinguishes all of Anita Shreve's bestselling novels, a marriage in December acutely probes the mysteries of the human center and the never-ending attract of paths now not taken.

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1. A town on the Hungarian side of Neusiedler Lake. It is known in Czech literature primarily for its brewery. Jaroslav Hasek mentions it in The Good Soldier Svejk (“The Hungarian breweries in Sopron and in Gross-Kanisza bought from my firm for their export beer, which they exported as far as Alexandria, an average of a thousand sacks of hops a year” [London: Penguin Books, 1974, p. 188]), as does Bohumil Hrabal in Dancing Lessonsfor the Advanced in Age (“so I switched from shoemaking to brew­ ing and trained as a maltster and set off on a tour of Hun­ gary, oh what a brewery they have in Sopron!

I found them strange, not to say repellent. The third was Sexual Hygiene for Married Couples, which my parents had acquired shortly after they were married. 3 Much later, in a song I heard from a drunken rookie by the name of Frantik Chmelik,4 I learned another taboo word for the female genitalia. The song went like this: “I’ve got a girl in Louny; I share her with my crony. 51 learned another word from a school­ mate named Milik Kocek,6who later became a police officer. ” I have never run across it since.

3. His abnormality made itself felt chiefly in bicycle rides through the countryside, when he talked or sang to himself. He had absolutely no interest in things sexual or erotic and remained a bachelor. He was good-natured and liked to give children rides on his bicycle. 4. After the death of Vaclav Antos, former Czech Le­ gionnaire in Italy and card shark. ) But Kozel had had earlier expe­ rience with the post: until 1927 my father s predecessor was a farmer by the name of Jires, and Kozel served as his deputy.

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