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  • Posted October 20, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Love, long life, and friendship

    Matrimony's strengths are twofold. Exceptionally smooth prose makes it an effortless and enjoyable reading experience. And emotional honesty offers us a wholly believable and satifying story. We follow a young Julian and Mia through their college years and an early marriage, to career choices and changes, the loss of a parent, and lingering doubts about Julian's ability to become the writer he wants to be. Their closest friends, Carter and Pilar, share those times with them and life moves forward as they spend some years both studying and teaching in different college towns. We watch them mature, gaining new insights about each other as parents age, friends split up, illness threatens, and an old secret causes a deep wound.<BR/> <BR/>The author is clearly perceptive about the intricacies of relationships and of matrimony. We may see this as the story of a young couple's marital course but it is more. For there are in fact several marriages here when we take into account both Julian and Mia's friends as well as their respective parents. While our main interest follows them, each couple's relationship is unique and working itself out in its own ways too and we are privy to all of it. This is a quiet but solid story, driven by well-developed, complex characters whose lives we are seriously interested in. It's about life, long love, and friendship, and it's one story you don't want to miss out on. Four and a half stars out of five. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2008

    Matrimony: A Novel by Joshua Henkin

    This book is about marriage, friendship and family. It's also a story about hope. I enjoyed the storyline and the characters. The story takes us through almost the next two decades of Julian and Mia's lives. There is alot going on here, and you can relate to these characters and the everyday struggles they face. I liked Julian, I think his character grows throughout the story. You want him and Mia to be okay despite all the obstacles they face. Carter has kind of a love-hate relationship with Julian, he considers Julian a good friend yet also envies him. But towards the end of the story, you see him mature a bit as well. I think this book would make a great film.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Another winner from Henkin! Oh, Joshua Henkin! You write such w

    Another winner from Henkin!

    Oh, Joshua Henkin! You write such wonderful books! This was my second book by him (the first being The World Without You) and I loved them both! This one, Matrimony, follows a couple for the 20+ years of their lives after they first met in college. When I read The World Without You, the one word that kept coming to mind was familiar, and the same applies t to this book. Henkin has a way of writing that is 100% relatable (even if you haven’t been in the situation he is writing about). His characters are all so realistic that I can’t get enough of them.

    The book starts out with the unlikely friendship between Julian (who I envisioned as Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother), an affluent New Englander, and Carter, a scholarship kid from California, who are enrolled in the same creative writing course. As Carter tries to break into the WASPy culture his friend hails from, Julian is trying to escape it. They both meet some great ladies, and from there the book mostly follows the lives of Julian and his wife, Mia. The story is propelled by the troubles and secrets that they face, and I wish I could give you more information without giving anything away!

    One of my favorite parts was his description of the Make Way for Duckling’s in the Boston Public Gardens because I have fond memories of taking a picture while sitting on the smallest duck at various points throughout my life spanning 30 years. Another was a comment in passing about someone walking a bunny on a leash because I did that when I was a kid, too. Add in the fact that I can fold my tongue like a “cauliflower” and the way he describes the magic of owning a dog, and the book is, I repeat, familiar.

    I read some of the other reviews about this book and one of the main complaints is that the story takes place over such a long period of time that it lacks character development. I completely disagree with this sentiment. Because Henkin‘s characters are so real, it is not necessary to focus on the mundane, day-to-day intricacies of life and marriage. There are too many books out there that spend time  on what the characters ate and their fight over household chores. I love that Henkin doesn’t waste his talent writing these types of details and focuses on the parts that matter.

    I love that Henkin‘s books remind me of real people and are not filled with any shocking twists and turns that would never happen in real life.  If you do too, then this is a book for you!

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  • Posted September 16, 2011

    Loved it. Couldn't put it down.

    I thought this was a great read. Not exactly "literature" but a great, fun, quick read. Nice story. Look forward to more books by him.

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  • Posted September 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Characters

    This was a study in the human condition. A simple yet compelling book about the life off one couple from college to marriage to deaths and separation.
    This wasn't my normal fare but I enjoyed it, the characters were fully fleshed out and kept your interest. At times they made you angry and other times made you sad.
    My favorite person (I say person because this book made you feel like you were reading a story about long lost friends and how they have fared through life) was Mia because although I did not lose my mother from breast cancer she did have it and I too go through the worry of getting this disease. So she was whom I related to the most.

    Julian made me mad at times and Carter was such a contradiction (but I love flawed characters) that sometimes it was hard to see the good that Julian saw in him at one time.
    All in all this was a good book.
    3 1/2 Stars

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    Thoughtful, realistic, well-written

    A quiet but compelling story about a marriage over time... of particular interest to aspiring writers, especially those who've been working on a novel for a long time (as the protagonist in this book has been!)...

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  • Posted January 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Love and Marriage

    Josh Henkin¿s Julian Wainwright is the major character in what is a poignant depiction of Mia and Julian Wainwright¿s marriage and all that entails. All of the emotional upheaval one might expect in a marriage filled with infidelity, suspicion, and loss, is found in Julian¿s marriage to Mia. Julian¿s plans for the perfect life change as he finds he must face reality. He learns what life gives each of us, and how it changes our plans, sometimes rather quickly, but more often than not, rather steadily, determines what really happens next in our well planned existence. These plans can produce positive as well as negative results. <BR/>At the age of 13, Julian meets author John Cheever and from that point on, all Julian wants to do is write. He attends Graymont College, known for its excellent writing program, where he becomes one of four freshmen who the story follows for the next few decades. One, of course is Mia Mendelsohn from Montreal. Theirs is a story book start with instant attraction and falling in love. Also in the group is Carter Heinz, a scholarship student all the way from California, who is probably THE most talented writer in the group, and also the poorest financially. Carter tries, but often just can¿t control the jealousy he feels toward Julian, because of the wealth Julian is lucky to be born into. These feelings toward Julian cause Carter to almost miss an opportunity for a truly glorious friendship. Carter¿s girlfriend, Pilar, completes the foursome. Pilar¿s parents are lawyers and she wants to follow in their footsteps. The failures and successes of these two couples are chronicled so well by Henkin over the next few years. <BR/>While Julian struggles to be the writer he just knows he can be, they find out that Mia¿s mother is ill. Things are set in motion as decisions seem to be made for them at this point. Mia¿s mom has breast cancer and Mia decides she really wants to marry Julian before her mother dies. And so, having married right after graduation, Julian moves to follow Mia as she continues her education. Their travels take them from their New England college town to one in the Midwest as Mia¿s postgraduate work is in the field of psychotherapy. While Mia is in school, Julian teaches some courses and continues to write. Eventually, they wind up in New York. With each move, and each year of marriage, Julian and Mia find old secrets coming out and their marriage is tested to the point of destruction.<BR/>Julian goes to Berkley to watch Carter graduate from Law School. Carter, who has founded a computer software start-up company, is now worth millions. Carter¿s wife, and college sweetheart, have split up. So the two friends get together to talk about the good old days and Carter let¿s a supposedly unintentional secret slip out. At this point, the path this story will take is up for grabs as to whether Julian and Mia will be able to get over this next hurdle. Along with that, Mia finds out she carries the same breast cancer gene that her mother did and the story goes once again in another direction as priorities change. <BR/>Henkin¿s writing makes for a moving account set in just the right atmosphere that keeps readers involved with the story. The characters are real and the reader can relate to them, believe in them, and more importantly, care about them. What happens with the knowledge Julian learned and the battle Mia faces, is what brings this story to its stunning conclusion. MATRIMONY is beautifully written story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2008

    Great Book

    Its all about friendship, love, money, ambition, desire and faith. Matrimony starts us out in Massachuetts in 1986. Julian is going to Graymont College, a small liberal Arts School. In a writting class he meets Carter Heniz. The exact opposite of Julian. Julian is a privileged child and Carter is not. They bond and become best friends. Carter meets a girl named Pilar. They quickly become a couple. During that time both Julian and Carter would play a game with the freshman yearbook about which one knew the most classmates. Page 47 was dog earred and in the upper right hand corner was Mia Mendelsohn. Mia from Montreal as Julian called her, his crush. Carter speaks to Mia first and tells Julian of this. By chance one day they both end up washing their clothes at the same time. They took and go out. After that they are inseperable. In their senior year of college Julian, Mia, Carter and Pilar, the only couples still dating since freshman year, all move in together. Mia gets a call from her father saying that Mia's mother has breast cancer. Gradually the Mia's mother is getting worse. Mia wants to leave school but her parents tell her to stay. Realizing her mother is dying Mia proposes to Julian. She wants to get married before her mother dies. Mia and Julian get married and move to Michigan. Mia is studing psychology and Julian is teaching at the university and working on his novel. Carter and Pilar are in California. Julian flies out to Carter's graduation. Carter is graduating Law School and is thinking of taking the bar exams. Carter and Pilar are separated, he tells Julian. Secrets are revealed to Julian that he had no idea about. Secrets that changed the lives of Carter, Julian and Mia.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2007

    Joshua Henkin Gives Marriage a Good Name

    Tender, joyful and true. An aspiring fiction writer meets his future wife and best friend freshman year in college, and we follow them as they grow apart and back again. Great dialogue, characters and place. Made me smile with deep recognition at innocent college love, but also at the mature, forgiving love that follows decades later.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 27, 2009

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    Posted May 19, 2009

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    Posted February 14, 2009

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    Posted October 20, 2011

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