Ambivalence, a Love Story: Portrait of a Marriage [NOOK Book]

Overview

Ambivalence, a Love Story is a deeply nuanced accounting in which two people come together to make a marriage work. Rarely has marriage and its compromises been so intimately portrayed, especially when tested by depression, unemployment, miscarriage and other realities of contemporary life. Whether inside the sterile out-placement offices for reengineered executives or traipsing through the suburban homes and competing lifestyles with perky realtors, Donatich muses on life's ...

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Ambivalence, a Love Story: Portrait of a Marriage

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Overview

Ambivalence, a Love Story is a deeply nuanced accounting in which two people come together to make a marriage work. Rarely has marriage and its compromises been so intimately portrayed, especially when tested by depression, unemployment, miscarriage and other realities of contemporary life. Whether inside the sterile out-placement offices for reengineered executives or traipsing through the suburban homes and competing lifestyles with perky realtors, Donatich muses on life's transitions with rare candor and insight.

Ambivalence traces the inner life of a man coming into adulthood: on being first generation, on interfaith marriage, on playing the accordion and ultimately on the question of whether we are better off solitary or coupled. But at heart, it is a tender -- if circumspect -- love story. An astonishing middle-aged debut.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A poignant self-portrait of what we rightly call 'a family man'. At certain eloquent moments it carried me inexorably to my own experience, and provided illumination. By touching so sensitively on the communal, it consoles in a finer tone."

- Harold Bloom

"Both in its general assertions and particular instance, this is a riveting book. And an original one. John Donatich admits to and explores the many aspects of Ambivalence, and he does so with intelligence and wit."

- Nicholas Delbanco

"There is no ambivalence in my response to this radiant work of story-telling. Its beauty of expression and familiarity of emotion and experience are John Donatich's gift to his readers, who just may recognize bits of themselves between its beautifully crafted lines."

- Sherwin Nuland

Harold Bloom

A poignant self-portrait of what we rightly call 'a family man'. At certain eloquent moments it carried me inexorably to my own experience, and provided illumination. By touching so sensitively on the communal, it consoles in a finer tone.
Nicholas Delbanco

Both in its general assertions and particular instance, this is a riveting book. And an original one. John Donatich admits to and explores the many aspects of Ambivalence, and he does so with intelligence and wit.
Sherwin Nuland

There is no ambivalence in my response to this radiant work of story-telling. Its beauty of expression and familiarity of emotion and experience are John Donatich's gift to his readers, who just may recognize bits of themselves between its beautifully crafted lines.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466832725
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/27/2005
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • File size: 302 KB

Meet the Author

John Donatich is currently Director of Yale University Press. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, The Nation, The Village Voice and other publications. He lives in New Haven, CT with his wife, Betsy Lerner and their daughter, Raffaella.


John Donatich is the director of the Yale University Press. His essays and occasional pieces have appeared in Harper's and the Atlantic Monthly. The Variations is his first novel.
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Reading Group Guide

1. The author thinks a lot about the role and challenges of fatherhood today. How would you define fatherhood in the modern world, and do you think the author will make a good father?

2. What do you think of the author's portrayal of his own father? Is it fair? Why or why not?

3. How did the author's experience as a first generation Catholic boy influence his general outlook on life? How did that boy become the man we read today? Is he right to say that the first generation child's experience is a fundamentally American one?

4. What do you think of the author's treatment of his wife's miscarriages and the depression that followed them?

5. Is "Love Story" an accurate way to describe this book? Why or why not?

6. With which character do you empathize more: the author or his wife, B? How did you feel about the author's portrayal of his wife?

7. The author takes a very analytical and philosophical approach to becoming a father. Why do you think he finds this necessary and what does this say about him? How would a man preparing to become a father benefit from reading this book?

8. Discuss the affect that having a baby has on a marriage, as depicted in the book. Are the conclusions and observations made by the author accurate? In your experience, how does the arrival of a first child affect a couple?

9. Why is the word "ambivalence" so important to the author, and in what ways does he see ambivalence as a good quality for coping with the challenges of today? Do you agree or disagree?

10. Discuss the line: "Ambivalence embraces compromise, and the effect is as enduring as it is flexible. The same applies to marriage." What does he mean by this?

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