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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.
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Posted March 10, 2013
Another winner from Henkin! Oh, Joshua Henkin! You write such w
Another winner from Henkin!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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!
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!)...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.
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Posted February 14, 2009
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Posted October 20, 2011
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