An American Marriage

An American Marriage

A Novel

Book - 2018 | First edition
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24
"Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781616208776
1616208775
Branch Call Number: FICTION JONES
Characteristics: 308 pages ; 24 cm

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d
DavidSpencer99
Jul 17, 2018

I can see why Oprah would make An American Marriage a 2018 selection for her book club. It’s a mildly entertaining story in easily digested prose, an under-represented viewpoint on two generations of two Afro-American families coping with major institutions within the boundaries imposed externally by society and internally by their own psyches. You could put this one in your summer reading bag and enjoy it whatever your cultural heritage. But I’m not sure what a reader is supposed to make of this fiasco. Is it a caution against selling out? Is it a parable on the perils of overweening pride? Should we see in it the disastrous result of imperfect self-knowledge? Ultimately, I didn’t care about the characters much. Big Roy held my interest most, but even he was more of a caricature of the solid, salt-of-the-earth father figure.

l
lukasevansherman
Jul 14, 2018

Fourth novel by Atlanta-born Tayari Jones. The generic title is a little misleading. A young marriage is thrown into disarray when the husband, a black man, is wrongly accused of rape and imprisoned. On the outside, his wife reconnects with a childhood friend who loves her. A big chunk of it is told through letters while the husband is in prison. The marriage plot is given a fresh treatment and the racial lens makes it more compelling the most books about relationships. In its treatment of family, race, and the South, it reminded me, at times, of "Sing Unburied Sing," which I also really liked.

k
kirpet
Jul 13, 2018

very moving story of african american marriage almost destroyed by false imprisonment

j
JGesellchen
Jul 09, 2018

April 2018 Book Club

spl_merley Jun 22, 2018

Literary readers will enjoy the blending of alternating perspectives, first person narrative and letters that weave together in this powerful tale. An American Marriage explores the far reaching consequences of racism and the lives and dreams racism so quickly turns to ash. It is also a tale of incredible courage which allows love and hope to remain even after dreams end.

s
Soucie13
Jun 20, 2018

The back of the book claims it's an "epic love story." What a flop. Interesting plot line and details, but it all just gets mushed together into one big lumpy cold Thanksgiving dinner.

Strange story.

2
2303tes
Jun 16, 2018

Made me think of the difficulty of any long term separations on marriage
as well as the difficulty of trying to live together again.
And is promising to love someone till death without parting, is that reasonable?

a
agoldsby
Jun 10, 2018

“Even when I’m happy there is something between me and whatever good news comes my way. It’s like eating a butterscotch still sealed in the wrapper." There is good writing in An American Marriage but overall I can't say I'm inspired to read more from this author. The plot had waaaaay too many holes for me. While I can appreciate the character development, the main characters were generally unlikable. In the end, I found myself disliking most of the characters and looking forward to moving on to my next book. I can't say too much without spoiling it for others. Nonetheless, I assume Tayari Jones wants us to know marriage is hard but reading this book was the real chore.

t
taylorwoods
May 27, 2018

“I know you're innocent, there is not one doubt in my mind, but I also know that you're not here.”

While this book is totally out of my typical genre scope, I am glad I took the time to appreciate the literary value this story is. An American Marriage explores not just the social issue of mass incarceration, disproportionately impacting black men, but as well as the effect it has on the domestic life. Roy and Celestial are barely married when he is sent to prison for a 12 year sentence- drastically changing the outlook of their marriage.

What Tayari Jones does extremely well here is she gives us completely complex, individual characters with their own issues. I also believe this novel questions the institution of marriage and it's requirements; how much loyalty is required? What are the boundaries? What do you do when faced with this death-sentence practically to the one thing these two people have together?

I give An American Marriage 3.5 stars for my personal reception of it- I found myself at times just wanting a scene to hurry up and get over with because I knew it wouldn't be much plot development wise. Where I know I fail is that I'm too used to faster paced novels to have truly taken my time with those moments.

j
jkayep1
May 07, 2018

Very good book...accusation confusing...

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