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THE SWINE'S WEDDING by Daniel Evan Weiss


by Daniel Evan Weiss

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 1-85242-419-2
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail

 The second novel by the author of The Roaches Have No King (1994) is a bizarre tale of a Jewish-Christian engagement that goes horribly wrong. At the outset, readers are presented with a series of police reports of a mysterious fire and two corpses, and of a dazed woman in a wedding dress clutching a journal outside the burning house. What does it all mean? Weiss tells the rest of the story through entries from the diary of Allison Pennybacker, the young woman in the wedding dress, and the journal of Miriam Beneviste, her prospective mother-in-law, interspersed with more police, psychiatric, and autopsy reports. Allison has fallen for Miriam's only son, Solomon, a handsome secular Jew of Sephardic descent. When the two begin planning an elaborate wedding, Allison's mother Louise, an active member of the local Episcopal church, urges the couple into a church wedding. Miriam offers, as a gift to the pair, to trace the family's roots, which she gradually discovers to include a grisly encounter with the Spanish Inquisition and forcible exile to the New World. Needless to say, her newfound attachment to Jewish identity doesn't sit well with her son or Louise, and the result is messy and tragic. Unfortunately, it is also entirely predictable from the moment Miriam first reads about the auto-da-fÇ at which the Inquisitors murdered ``judaizing'' New Christians. Less clear is what lesson Weiss means for us to take from his cautionary tale of religious bias past and present. Is it that intermarriage, or anti-Semitism, or an interest in one's family history, is bad? Messy and ponderous, with a final movement that is especially unsuccessful.