Conjugal Bliss: A Comedy of the Marital Arts

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Roger and Zelda were lovers. Best friends. Ardent, fun-loving, passionate, they were intellectual and sexual soul mates, a perfect match. And then they got married. How is it that a little piece of paper and a signature in the courthouse records can make such a difference? What happens when love becomes legal is the wellspring of this bawdy, exuberant, all too recognizably familiar tale of modern marriage. As Roger tells it - and does he ever tell it! - Zelda emerges as both ravening monster and glamorous wild ...
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1994 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. NEW Stated First Edition Full printing number line. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 304 p. Audience: General/trade.

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1st Edition, Fine/Fine Clean, bright & tight. No ink names, tears, chips, foxing etc. Price unclipped. SIGNED by Author on front endpaper. ISBN 080502803X DJ in a clear ... plastic protective cover. Read more Show Less

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New York, New York, U.S.A. 1994 Hard Cover First Edition, 2nd Printing New in New jacket BRAND NEW Copy. Fiction. A commentary on the iinfluence of institution of marriage on ... true love, hope and dreams. Set in contemporary America, but universal in application when cultural specifics are erased. Back jacket of this funny and sad tragic/comedy quotes Robert Louis Stevenson: "Once you are married, there is nothing left for you, not even suicide". To that one might add the Chinese ideograph (hun) for this ancient state of affairs: how about the female radical (matriarchal determinant) and phoetic derivation of "the state of muddled bewilderment", with room for speculations as to which concept came first. Dear Reader, are you married or contemplating marriage? Read more Show Less

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Overview

Roger and Zelda were lovers. Best friends. Ardent, fun-loving, passionate, they were intellectual and sexual soul mates, a perfect match. And then they got married. How is it that a little piece of paper and a signature in the courthouse records can make such a difference? What happens when love becomes legal is the wellspring of this bawdy, exuberant, all too recognizably familiar tale of modern marriage. As Roger tells it - and does he ever tell it! - Zelda emerges as both ravening monster and glamorous wild woman: jealous, possessive, competitive, greedy . . . yet also fantastical, erotic, and wickedly imaginative. But who is the real Zelda? Little by little, doubts about Roger's version creep in until what began as a comedy of manners admittedly bad turns into a wry and telling commentary on true love and the egocentricity of the eternal male. And so the war goes on. Conjugal Bliss is John Nichols' ninth novel. A sexual comedy that will draw blood as well as laughs, it is Nichols at his funniest, most outrageous best.

The acclaimed author of The Milagro Beanfield Wars offers a hip, sexy, and very funny new novel of the war zone that is modern marriage. Zelda possesses everything that Roger wants in a woman. But when this perfectly matched pair of passionate lovers exchanges vows, all hell breaks loose.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lively, personable narrative and a myriad of piercing insights on the politics of marriage spice this piquant, entertaining domestic comedy set in the American Southwest. Roger, the middle-aged author of a popular sci-fi detective series, finds his seemingly perfect relationship with sexy, fiery Zelda at an end when he marries her. Suddenly, he is dangerously overmatched in a high-stakes marital power struggle--punctuated by interludes of extraordinary sex. Roger begins his narrative with the fight that marked both ``the first time ever, by either sex, that I'd been clobbered,'' and six months and two days of wedded bliss. He traces back their evolution as a couple and the causes of their numerous battles. Each has children by a previous marriage and Roger's ex-girlfriends and ex-wife still live nearby, but there are also the other more classic challenges of marriage--conflicting needs for privacy and openness, candor and tact, loyalty and independence--which fashion a tempestuous union that is at once too painful to continue and too sublime to surrender. Nichols writes with panache and great wit through the reckless, fitfully candid, yet confused voice of his protagonist. If his novel occasionally teeters on the brink of farce it always returns with some lucid observation to delight any reader with even a fleeting knowledge of the institution of marriage. Holt will reissue a 20th-anniversary facsimile edition of Nichols's best-known work, The Milagro Beanfield War , to coincide with this publication. Feb.
Library Journal
A copy editor's mark on the book's cover, changing martial to marital , goes far in explaining the premise of Nichols's new romp. Roger and Zelda are happily in love--until they get married. Soon Roger finds Zelda jealous and grasping beyond his worst nightmares, but as readers read on, they begin to suspect that maybe Roger's version of the marriage is not so accurate.
Mary Carroll
Nichols' subtitle, playing on the words "martial" and "marital", makes the main title an oxymoron. Matrimony brings little "bliss" to Roger and Zelda: they manifest their love--or mutual obsession?--in the intensity of their passion, tenderness, jealousy, and rage. As narrator, Roger--author of an sf detective series, TV scripts, and screenplays--takes full advantage of his control of readers' sympathies to portray Zelda as an implacable, irrational monster who can't abide Roger's contacts with "anyone" from his earlier life, from his ex-wife and children to the multiple ex-lovers who seem to make up most of the population of their corner of New Mexico. The dice are heavily loaded: Zelda's jealousy forces Roger to turn his back on an ex-lover dying from cancer; Zelda's daughters are prim princesses while Roger's kids are normal, screwed-up teens; Zelda's sole friend is a woman who speaks only through a puppet. The ebbs and flows of this volatile relationship "can" be hilarious; too often, though, they're cartoonish and mean-spirited, and it's hard to discern the critique of the "egocentricity of the eternal male," which Nichols' publisher trumpets. Still, "Conjugal Bliss" will be issued along with Holt's twentieth-anniversary facsimile edition of "The Milagro Beanfield War" 1974, Nichols' cult classic, and requests seem likely for both.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805028034
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/21/1993
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304

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