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Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (Persephone…
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Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (Persephone Classics) (original 1932; edition 2009)

by Julia Strachey

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2991437,504 (3.31)82
Member:birdsam0610
Title:Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (Persephone Classics)
Authors:Julia Strachey
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Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:persephone books, fiction, england, wedding, relationships

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Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey (1932)

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
"A sardonic and beautifully written novella which was first published in 1932 by the Woolfs at the Hogarth Press: 'I think it astonishingly good . . . complete and sharp and individual' was Virginia Woolf's verdict about this eccentric mixture of Katherine Mansfield, Cold Comfort Farm and EM Forster. On a brisk English March day Dolly is getting ready to marry the Hon Owen Bigham. Waylaid by the sulking admirer who lost his chance with her, and astonishingly oblivious mother, and her own sinking dread, the bride-to-be struggles to reach the altar with the help of a bottle of rum."
~~back cover

I'm surprised I didn't like this book more than I did, as I like Katherine Mansfield, Cold Comfort Farm and EM Forster. But I found it rather silly -- Joseph (the sulking admirer) seems wet and unfocused; the action shifted often enough that I rather lost track of Mum's "astonishing oblivion", and I kept expecting Dolly to decamp from the wedding, Mum and the sulking admirer to take control of her own life. But given that the book was written in the 1930s, I'm probably judging it from my own chronological perspective.

Perhaps I was just distracted when I read it, and didn't give it enough attention. I shall have to go back and read it again. ( )
  Aspenhugger | Jan 6, 2014 |
I do love the Persephone Books series and who could resist this pretty Persephone Classic with the lady reading on the front? Contained with its pages is a charmingly witty little novella that you can read on a lazy afternoon.

The novella takes place over the course of just one afternoon that happens to be the day of Dolly’s wedding. She is having some last minute doubts in her bedroom as chaos reigns below. As she sits looking outside having a quiet drink, the family and friends are having quite a complex interplay of emotions downstairs. There’s Joseph, who loves Dolly – but does she really know? He hasn’t yet told her. Dolly’s mother, Mrs Thatcham, is overseeing the arrangement and rearrangement of the house to the weary servants. (Mrs Thatcham, hopefully unknowingly, has put all the guests in the same bedroom – oh if only the novel continued what confusion there would be!) Kitty, the loud sister, has opinions on everything, but is light-hearted and fun. The two younger boys, Robert and Tom, run in and out of the narrative wildly, arguing about whether is it suitable to wear green socks at a wedding.

It is the interaction between the characters that make this book fun. We move from Dolly and Joseph’s reflective musings to the humourous chaos that always happens before a big event. But behind the comedy, there are some sombre thoughts. Where is Mr Thatcham? What does Owen (Dolly’s new husband) make of this loud, busy family? Has Dolly made the right decision? Should Joseph reveal himself? Is Kitty being so loud to cover up that she’s the bridesmaid, not the bride? Why is Mrs Thatcham so contradictory – is she simply ruffled in the middle of the kerfuffle, or is there something more going on?

While you’re pondering all this, nothing really happens. The only real event is Mrs Thatcham insisting it’s such ‘cheerful weather’ when all the descriptions suggests it’s blowing an absolute gale. It’s really the theme of the story – everyone is pretending to be jovial and rambunctious, but there’s a lot of regret hidden underneath.

The prose is gorgeous in describing the characters to the point where I wanted to tell everyone downstairs to just be quiet! I really felt I was in the middle of the harem scarum. There are probably a lot of hidden meanings and themes in the way the characters acted, but I read for pleasure these days and I felt the novel worked just fine.

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
  birdsam0610 | Dec 30, 2012 |
The first thing anyone who decides to pick up this short novella should know is that the only thing that is remotely "cheerful" about it is indeed the weather on the day during which all the action takes place. Thankfully, I had read a few reviews and knew this before I'd even purchased the audiobook version of this Persephone book originally published in 1932, so did not suffer disappointment in that sense and on the contrary, enjoyed discovering how Strachey had described the situation at hand. On this day of lovely weather, guests and family have converged at Mrs Thatcham's house to attend her daughter Dolly's wedding. There reigns a great confusion there as Mrs Thatcham tries to get everything in order before the ceremony while giving contradictory instructions to the servants. None of the people assembled seem to especially look forward to the wedding and hold various meaningless conversations, while Dolly herself takes an inordinate amount of time getting ready in her room, where we learn she has been slowly getting drunk, drinking straight out of a bottle of spirits. An interesting little story which I could easily see being performed as a play. ( )
2 vote Smiler69 | Oct 26, 2012 |
I assumed this novella would be "cheerful," as its title implies, but I was wrong. It's actually a rather dark portrayal of Dolly Thatcham's wedding day. All of the "action" takes place in the bride's house, even during the ceremony, because this book is not about the wedding, it's about reactions to the wedding. As Dolly gets dressed, and her extended family and friends sit down to a wedding luncheon, it becomes clear that no one is very happy about this wedding, not even the bride.

This state of affairs is revealed slowly, through a quirky cast of characters. Mrs Thatcham books multiple guests in the same bedroom, confuses the staff with conflicting direction about meal service, and flaps about in a scatterbrained fashion. Two boys fight over wearing appropriate socks. Dolly steels herself for the afternoon ceremony by slowly draining a bottle of rum. And Joseph, a former suitor, mopes about downstairs waiting for Dolly to emerge so he can have the last word before she becomes a married woman.

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding is supposed to be funny, I think. Yes, there were moments of wit, and characters like Mrs Thatcham who were so over the top that I had to laugh. But I expected a continuous chuckle, and maybe a laugh-out-loud moment or two, and this was not that sort of book. The cover blurb compared this book to Cold Comfort Farm, another "hilarious" book that failed to resonate with me. Perhaps I just can't appreciate this type of quirky humor. ( )
2 vote lauralkeet | Oct 22, 2012 |
In this novella, originally published in 1932, Dolly Thatcham is getting married. The story begins with the whole household in confusion as it prepares for the big event. On the surface, all the commotion seems perfectly normal, but it soon becomes clear that most of the characters aren’t happy about this wedding – including the bride. While Dolly’s clueless mother bustles around issuing contradictory orders to the servants, Dolly experiences overwhelming and confusing emotions about her impending marriage. Everything is complicated by the presence of Joseph Patten, one of Dolly’s former suitors, who may or may not still be in love with her.

Two things you should know about this novel before deciding to read it: (1) it’s very short, just over 100 pages; and (2) it is not a stereotypical romantic comedy. There are several comedic moments, but the overall tone of the story is quite bleak. All the characters seem isolated and incapable of true communication with each other. Furthermore, none of them are particularly likeable; my favorite was Dolly’s sister Kitty, but she’s not one of the principal actors in the story. The whole books is more of a scene than a novel; all the events take place over the course of a single day, and the characters’ internal struggles are much more important than the few external events. All this is making it sound like I didn’t enjoy the book, but I actually did like it. It’s easy to read because of its length, but it’s definitely not a fluff book. I enjoyed the biting satire and was impressed by the writing. So, even though this wasn’t exactly a feel-good read, I liked it overall and would definitely read it again.
3 vote christina_reads | Oct 26, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Julia Stracheyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Margolyes, MiriamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On March 5th Mrs Thatcham, a middle-class widow, married her eldest daughter, Dolly, who was twenty-three years old, to the Hon. Owen Bigham.
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"(...) Do, dearest Dolly, I implore you, enjoy yourself as hard as ever you can, while you are still so young and lovely...." "She is on the wrong tack in this last sentence. I must write and tell her," thought Dolly. "Neither youth nor loveliness makes people happy. It takes something utterly different to do that."
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"Today is Dolly Thatchum's wedding day, and her family is arriving with all the cheerfulness, chaos and grievances that accompany such gatherings. Trouble appears in the shape of Joseph, Dolly's former lover from the previous summer, who throws her feelings into turmoil. But Dolly's mother will not allow her carefully laid plans for her daughter's future to be threatened. As the clock ticks and the guests grow more and more restless, the bride-to-be must decide whether to run away with Joseph or settle into the humdrum security of married life."--Container.… (more)

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