In her final novel, Dorothy West offers an intimate glimpse into African American middle class. Set on 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 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.
Norman Lewis (1909–1979), Girl with Yellow Hat (aka Woman with Yellow Hat and Yellow Hat), 1936, oil on burlap, 36 1/2 x 26 inches; Courtesy of Leslie Lewis and Christina Lewis Halpern from the Reginald F. Lewis Family Collection; © Estate of Norman Lewis; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY
"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
"Dorothy West is an epic storyteller."- Quarterly Black Review of Books
"The Wedding's prose has biblical rhythms and echoes of William Faulkner. This novel of Dorothy West's later life is luminous, unexpected gift that should bring her a new generation of admirers."- The Washington Post