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A Wedding in December: 07/31/07
I'm glad I read Barometer Rising by Hugh Maclennan before I read A Wedding in December because the comparison between the Halifax explosion and the destruction of the World Trade Center was a central theme of the book. Like Barometer Rising, Shreve divides her chapters by the days of the week. As her book takes place over the course of a weekend, she only has three main sections: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, to Maclennan's seven days.
It is through Agnes's writing though that the main connections are drawn. Agnes spends her free time before the wedding of Bridget and Bill writing her own fictional account of the Halifax explosion told from the point of view of a woman named Innes who is as strong and capable as Maclennan's protagonist.
Were it not for the interesting comparison between two real life tragedies, I would have been bored and frustrated by the book. All of these baby boomer characters are selfish and self-absorbed, thinking only of their own well-being and not about how their actions affect their loved ones. They are having affairs or otherwise cheating on loved ones not present at the wedding. Bridget, the bride, is "the other woman", Bill having left his wife to marry her. The fact that she has cancer is somehow supposed to make this marriage acceptable but it didn't for me.