The Wedding Group
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Matters are given a further twist by having the young wife collide with modern life. For her consumer culture is a marvel, indeed, the story involves watching her escape a lifestyle that was much too closed and narrow. Formerly living in a environment where everything was "crafty" and hand-made, and food was all laborously grown and prepared in the colony, once married the young wife wastes her entire day sitting before the television (she even watches "Bill and Ben, The Flowerpot Men"), living on fast food and frozen meals. Actually, the first thing the young wife does after leaving is purchase a cheap manufactured dress - until this point she had only worn sack-like homewoven kaftans.
In many ways the story is much along the lines of British comedy films of the 1950s, the productions associated with Ealing Studios, and the Rank organisation. The collision of modern ways and small community life had been a favoured cinema theme: think of the movies "The Titfield Thunderbolt" and "Rockets Galore!" Reading the book you can almost envisage the cast if this were a film: David would, perhaps, be played by an actor like John Gregson, his mother by Irene Handl, his father by Alistair Sim, Liz Fraser as his former flame, and so forth right down to Dennis Price as the philandering writer.
But it's a novel by Elizabeth Taylor - not a film - so the work has much more substance.Read more ›
Frankly, by the end I couldn't have cared less and was completely fed up with the whole cast of cardboard cut-outs.
So if this is your first dip into ElizabethTaylor, try something else ... apart from this one book, I have never found her anything less than brilliant.
A post-script to this: Something I have since discovered from Nicola Beauman's new biography of Elizabeth Taylor, is that she lived near Eric Gill and helped in his workshop, possibly even posed for him. Beauman also describes this as the weakest novel, and says that Taylor struggled to get the right satirical tone whilst still recognising Gill's stature as an artist. For once, she didn't pull it off. But do try her other novels which are wonderful.