by Alexander Chee
For Jack Cho, a fortysomething gay man, being able to marry someone he loves is so unfamiliar it’s terrifying. Then a wedding invitation from a college friend brings about a collision with those fears—and his own secret history.
Jack and his new boyfriend, Caleb, are attending the wedding of Jack’s estranged straight friend Scott. No sooner do the guests start to mingle than questions arise about relationships, tradition, Jack’s feelings for the groom, and what’s at stake as he navigates daunting territory, both new and old. In this wry and surprising short story, award-winning author Alexander Chee extends an invitation to the party—and awakening—of a lifetime.
Alexander Chee’s The Weddings is part of Inheritance, a collection of five stories about secrets, unspoken desires, and dangerous revelations between loved ones. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single setting. By yourself, behind closed doors, or shared with someone you trust.
Jack Cho is a 42 year old gay man. In the first few pages, he is attending a wedding as his boyfriend Caleb’s plus one. It’s a gay wedding, it’s casual and it’s fun and Jack is surprised to find that it makes him look at weddings and the concept of marriage in a whole new light.
“Jack wasn’t used to weddings. His friends were mostly people who didn’t, wouldn’t, or couldn’t – until this year – marry.”
“… the feeling of wanting to marry someone was so unfamiliar, it was terrifying, and so he pushed it into a little box behind his heart for two months, and he kept it there until this next wedding invitation arrived, from Scott. When he took it out again.”
Two months later, the couple are invited to another wedding, bringing up memories and raising questions about Jack’s previous relationships.
“Why am I here? he asks himself. What am I doing?”
This story was very well written and felt real so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that this was based on truth. It’s a though provoking little story, really making the reader think about the value of marriage and a wedding ceremony in modern society. This story is written very cleverly, paying special attention to awkward conversations and even more awkward silences.
I didn’t feel as engrossed in this as I did with some other stories in this series, but I still really enjoyed it nonetheless.
Overall rating: “The Weddings” is a lovely story about modern marriage, secrets and stories untold. It wasn’t my favourite of the Inheritance Series but still a solid 4 stars!