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OTHER PEOPLE’S WEDDINGS by Noah Hawley

OTHER PEOPLE’S WEDDINGS

By Noah Hawley

Pub Date: June 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-312-32273-9
Publisher: St. Martin's

Second outing by the author of the comic paranoid thriller A Conspiracy of Tall Men (1998).

At 36 and unmarried, wedding photographer Laurie has captured other people’s vows at over a thousand weddings during the past ten years. Not just vows but also “the future as a hot green meadow that rolls on for years. And I step up and capture it in one-five-hundredth of a second.” Looking over old work, Laurie wonders how many of these vows have held. Many have, and these folks are delighted by her offer of a free photo of them in their home today. Laurie photographs divorcées alone as “last standing.” Hollow 35-year-old ex-husbands hit on her. Her own loneliness doesn’t interest her; “it’s just a dead body handcuffed to my wrist.” Father went insane, mother died of cancer, younger sister Lisa can’t straighten out the men in her life. We find that Laurie was married for 14 months but never owns up to it. Then she spies Gilligan Ford III, a handsome smiling stranger, 42, who crashes weddings. She goes through her files and finds that he has crashed 11 of her last 12 weddings. At the latest Hindu affair, he tells he that he actually does know someone, having been introduced to him a half hour earlier. Doesn’t know his name, though. She accepts his dinner invitation. He takes her to the closed aquarium (for which he’s an accountant?), where he’s had a duck dinner set out by the shark tank. Her glass shell splinters. His wife died of cancer five years ago. Lisa uncovers that Gil has inherited his dead wife’s wealth. When Gil wants to know how Laurie knows this, she hides Lisa’s shame—and soon true love goes far astray.

Amusing—but 400 pages of chat is too much. Even the big tragic scene that accounts for Laurie’s character feels lost in the swash. Too many subplots, Mozart!