Anita Shreve’s December Wedding

The first time I read one of Anita Shreve’s novels I almost quit after the first few chapters. She’s a terse writer. Short sentences, trim descriptions and the dialogue is cut to the meatiest portions. I’m no fan of long narrative or never-ending descriptions, but throw me a bone and give me a little more to go on, please. Well, thankfully I persevered and discovered how gifted Anita Shreve is with her craft.  December Wedding is the third novel I’ve read by Ms. Shreve and it was no less cryptic than the others, but at least now I know her style and can get into the rhythm of her storytelling sooner. And here’s the thing, though at the end of her books I feel like I’ve read something important, I don’t always love them. Her books make me sad, probably because the characters are almost never happy.  The characters are compelling and that’s why I can’t put the books down. She takes an everyday person and peels back the layers of their facade, revealing quite desperate souls. Once everyone is at their most vulnerable, then the roller coaster begins. This was a good book to read during a rainy, cold Spring, but unlike my garden I can’t say Ms. Shreve’s characters come out blooming. They do, on the other hand, make me remember that the face people present, is not always the truth.