‘A Country Wedding’ by Laurie Colwin

A Country Wedding by Laurie Colwin, 1984

The magic trick:

Couching a woman’s story of adultery within a storybook-wholesome weekend trip

“A Country Wedding” does a neat trick with context. Our protagonist is grappling with a recent – and recently ended – affair with an older man. This grappling, though, isn’t in a vacuum. It’s occurring during what should be the most wholesome weekend ever – a trip with her childhood sweetheart (and now husband) back to her quaint country hometown for the wedding of her childhood friend at grandma’s house.

All that wholesomeness only serves to cast the protagonist’s sins in an even worse light.

And that’s quite a trick on Colwin’s part.

The selection:

At the bottom of the road was Wall Swamp, where Grey had proposed. Since then, they had explored the swamp by canoe, and had actually swum in it one blazing-hot afternoon. Grey stopped the car and got out to stretch his legs. Freddie got out, too. She stood close to her husband, who smelled sweet and fresh as bread. “Don’t crush me,” she said as Grey put his arms around her. They embraced as from a distance so as not to mess up Freddie’s dress.

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