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Book by Zeidner, Lisa
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LISA ZEIDNER has published five novels, including the critically acclaimed Layover, and two books of poems. Her stories, reviews, and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, GQ, Tin House, and elsewhere. She directs the M.F.A. program in creative writing at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The bride did not wear white. But the terrorist did.
The bride wore a fitted dark blue cocktail dress, shimmering and shiny, the color of a duck caught in an oil spill. The terrorist, however, wore the most conventional gown of white satin and lace, complete with veil.
The guests had already crowded into the great room to await the bride. Until this moment, the biggest anticipated setback had been the threat of bad weather that had forced the ceremony indoors. The bride and groom, who had been discouraged from an outdoor summer wedding for this very reason, seemed not only stoical about the approaching storm but jauntily pleased; and when, just as suddenly, the thunder skittered away and the sun broke through, guests who believed in a higher power could note that said Being had just offered a wink and a nod, or blessed the proceedings.
Those who needed to sit had sat. Instead of the familiar strains of Pachelbel’s Canon, the assembled guests heard a series of whirs outside the door from what sounded like a power drill. While they turned to face the noise, the terrorist, not Tess, made an entrance from the opposite side of the room, from the French doors that led to the backyard. She did one runway strut down what passed for an aisle. Then she just spun around to face the crowd and allowed everyone, including the wedding photographer, to get a long look.
With her wedding dress, the terrorist wore what looked like an old World War II gas mask, bulky as a scuba diver’s. You couldn’t see her eyes through the plastic portholes, because over the gas mask she wore wraparound mirrored sunglasses. Her veil was far too heavy for bridal purposes—more like a burqa. Threaded from the gas mask to her arm was some kind of small black box, attached with what many of the guests immediately recognized as an iPod armband. On the box, a small button flashed.
Since her gown was strapless and her arms bare, you could see the box quite well. The arm wearing it was clearly a woman’s arm. A very fit woman’s arm. This woman had put in some serious time on the Nautilus machines, or with free weights, the younger men would later agree, when her arms became a central question: How could anyone who knew her fail to recognize those arms, those hands? Granted, it was possible she had been fat before, in training for this, her big day of mayhem, grunting through chin-ups deep into the night. Still. Shouldn’t the person in question—the person she wanted to hurt, the person responsible for endangering the lives of sixty-odd innocent bystanders—recognize the tone of her skin, her elbows?
The black box was practically the only dark item on her body and thus meant to be seen, as were the boots. The wedding dress had been intentionally hemmed too short, so it wasn’t just the toes of her shoes that protruded but the entire clunky things. The terrorist wore steel-reinforced-toe work boots identical to those of any road construction crew or cable installation dude, except that the boots had been spray-painted white over stencils, so they actually looked like white-and-cream lace. The shoelaces had been spray-painted white, too.
It would have been easy enough—easier, in fact—to buy white shoelaces. The caked paint on the laces was disconcerting, and gave the shoes the look of something that would be in a museum, in a big Plexiglas case, posturing as art.
The veil was so long that it hid part of her waist, so only as she walked, at certain angles, could you see that she wore a belt that appeared to be made entirely from rounds of ammo, on the side of which was somehow balanced or clipped—as if it were a cell phone—a sawed-off shotgun? Not a Soldier of Fortune crowd, but it appeared to be a sawed-off shotgun.
Despite the artillery, no one took the terrorist seriously at first. Almost everyone assumed that she was part of an artsy ceremony. Both Tess and Gabriel had been very secretive about the details of the wedding, revealing only that it would be “intimate.” The older guests—who believed in the importance of ritual at a time like this, who resolutely understood that your own wedding was the worst possible time to try to get creative—attempted to smile indulgently. But many of the bride and groom’s friends looked genuinely delighted.
Not that most of the guests required an armed bride in a gas mask to be alert, amused, and grateful to be there. The groom’s sister, Miranda Mobley, was an actress, and as her date she’d brought her current boyfriend, a better-known actor: Trevor Hunter, star of action-adventure movies with comic overtones and a long-running TV cop show. After the bride and groom shoved cake into their mouths, Miranda’s car—the actors had arrived in a town car, with a driver—would whisk her back to Manhattan, in preparation for late-night talk shows. The celebrities sat quietly on their plastic chairs. But as people twisted backwards to look for the bride and groom, their eyes kept snagging on the movie stars. In fact, most people’s first thought was that Art Bride was Miranda, harnessed into a supporting role as ironic maid of honor.
Once Miranda was located in the crowd, they figured the terrorist was Tess herself. Though Tess had greeted people as they arrived at the house, she could have changed clothes in her childhood home. One or two of the guests, grinning, began to look around for the groom, whom they assumed would also be in costume. Gabriel, in his wedding suit, looked as mystified as they did. But they assumed his shock was just part of the performance, even when he craned his neck to find his bride-to-be.
Tess was crammed into the back of the room in her blue dress, just another spectator. Therefore not Art Bride. And the wide-eyed bride looked even more puzzled than Gabriel.
She stood in a clump by the door with the entire catering staff—not only the head chefs, a husband-and-wife duo in the regulation tall white hats and white Nehru jackets, their names stitched in cursive on the pockets, but all five of their young penguin-dressed food service underlings.
When the terrorist, voice muffled by the gas mask, boomed, in a kind of parodic broadcaster’s voice, “Everyone standing, find a chair,” everyone began to smile, laugh, and clap, or almost everyone.
Helen Burns, the mother of the bride whose house this was, quickly located Tess in the clump of guests, then Gabriel. Then her son, Simon, and her three grandchildren. Then her tremulous mother in her wheelchair, who wore her usual expression, half happy-go-lucky, half defeated.
The Africans also did not appear to be at all amused. The four friends of the bride and groom’s from Chad and Mali, three men and one’s wife—Helen had been introduced to them but could not remember their long, foreign names—who had traveled here for the festivities, may not have been totally versed in American wedding customs, but they knew a real shotgun from a prop. So, presumably, did the groom’s grandfather, who might be old now but had fought in actual wars. Helen noticed that Delbert Billips Sr. seemed to be trying to calculate all of the egresses in the room without moving his head too much. She also noticed that the woman did not pay any attention to him, which meant that whoever she was, she was not connected to the groom’s side of the family, because if you were planning a hostage event, you would make special arrangements for the man with combat experience.
Also highly unamused: the mental health service providers. Helen Burns, the bride’s mother, was a therapist with a mere Ph.D. But the father of the bride, the maternal grandfather of the groom, and a handful of the wedding guests were psychiatrists who could call in a script for Thorazine or process a committal right on the spot. They did not think this woman was fetchingly creative. They would think she was schizophrenic. They would think she was schizophrenic just on the basis of the outfit. The outfit alone screamed inpatient.
There were not enough chairs for everyone. The room that Helen thought of as the not-so-great room could not comfortably hold this many people. Panic-stricken as the rain threatened, they’d called in an S.O.S. to the bride’s brother Simon, and with the help of the caterers’ staff, they’d rearranged everything into some kind of ad hoc performance space with the conviction that the rain was going to pass so that the food could still be served outside, under the tent. Helen was very upset. It was ridiculous. Who wants a backyard wedding! Even if it doesn’t rain, who needs mosquitoes, ants, the heat and humidity! But then the threat of rain had passed, and Helen realized that her daughter liked just the improvised quality of the wedding, as if it inoculated her against the fear that she was demanding too much attention.
Now, instead of bad weather, they had an armed interloper in a gas mask.
“Okay,” the terrorist said, “the rest of you can line up behind and around the chairs. First—” But she was interrupted by a ringing phone. People no longer turn off their cell phones, even for a wedding. “Ooooh, that’s a really stupid ring tone,” she noted. Many laughed while the offender set her phone to vibrate. “Let’s turn off our phones. Not vibrate, just flat off. Try to be without your phones for a while. Let’s do it together. On the count of three,” and the guests complied, laughing more as the clashes of the various phones’ powering-down songs cycled through.
“Now,” she said, “I’m passing a hat,” the word hat muffled, so it sounded as if she were announcing she planned to pass gas. Where the hat came from was unclear—somewhere under the magician’s veil, or, considering what would happen soon, it had been planted in the room beforehand. “If you could all just se...
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Book Description 2013. PAP. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # VV-9781250037695
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Book Description Picador USA, United States, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Smart, funny, [and] irreverent.A perfect summer novel. --Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Author of Layover New York Times Book Review Editors Choice It s been a while since I ve read a satire as deft and ambitious as Lisa Zeidner s Love Bomb.Wildly entertaining. --Richard Russo, author of That Old Cape Magic and Empire Falls In quaint Haddonfield, New Jersey, Tess is about to marry Gabe in her childhood home. Her mother, Helen, is panicked about the guest list---which promises warring exes, racial tensions, and way too many psychiatrists. But the most challenging guest is an uninvited one: a woman who shows up in a wedding dress, wearing a gas mask and toting a sawed-off shotgun, with a bomb trigger strapped to her arm. While the warm, wise Helen attempts to control the hysteria, the hostages begin to untangle their connections to their captor, and to one another. Together, they await the arrival of the SWAT team---and the moment when the terrorist of love reveals her true motives. A tough, tender social comedy and a romance with guts, Love Bomb is written with deep affection for everything it skewers. Seller Inventory # BTE9781250037695
Book Description Picador, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # INGM9781250037695
Book Description Picador USA, 2013. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. reprint edition. 262 pages. 8.25x5.50x0.75 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # zk1250037697
Book Description Picador, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111250037697
Book Description Macmillan Us, 2013. Taschenbuch. Condition: Neu. Neu Neuware, Importqualität, auf Lager, Versand per Büchersendung - As Tess is about to get married in her childhood home in Haddonfield, New Jersey, an uninvited guest wearing a wedding dress and gas mask holds the ensemble hostage, triggering hilarious chaos among the unusual cast of characters. By the author of Layover. 262 pp. Englisch. Seller Inventory # INF1000333665
Book Description 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Paperback. Tess is about to get hitched in her childhood home, but an uninvited guest presents a challenge: a woman in a wedding dress, wearing a gas mask, and toting a sawed-off shotgu.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 272 pages. 0.236. Seller Inventory # 9781250037695