An American Marriage

An American Marriage

A Novel

eBook - 2018
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OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB 2018 SELECTION The celebrated author of Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones, is back with a profoundly rendered story of love and its limits. In An American Marriage we meet Celestial, a thirtysomething African American woman from an upper-middle-class Atlanta family who is a year and a half into a marriage with a man named Roy. Roy views his much more modest, small-town Louisiana upbringing as a gift of humility, but he's also driven to make his mark in Atlanta's high-powered business world. On the sidelines as the novel begins is Andre, a man who was Celestial's best friend growing up, and who became a close friend to Roy during college. It was Andre who introduced the pair, and it is Andre to whom Celestial turns when Roy is sentenced to twelve years in a Louisiana prison for the rape of a white woman--a crime he did not commit. For years, Celestial sticks by Roy, visiting him, providing him with money, helping the lawyer pursue a reversal of the conviction, but over time her commitment wanes. Celestial questions their tumultuous marriage, begins to find her own way as an artist, and falls in love with Andre. When Roy is suddenly released from prison, his conviction overturned, Celestial, Roy, and Andre must each reexamine the bonds of love and friendship that have held them together, while at the same time searching for a way to move forward individually without sacrificing everything that had made their love possible. An American Marriage stuns with its emotional intensity, and grapples with the universal and relatable themes of what it means to be a husband, a wife, a father, a son, a daughter--as well as what it means to be black in America today.
Publisher: [United States] : Algonquin Books, 2018
ISBN: 9781616207601
1616207604
Branch Call Number: eBook hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: hoopla digital

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BPLpicks May 21, 2019

This book allows us a glimpse inside a marriage that has been torn apart when the husband is unfairly incarcerated. It is told from the alternating points of view of both the husband and wife as they make difficult choices or learn to cope when they have no choices at all. This character driven book is thought provoking and moving. A good book for readers who like to feel invested in the characters of a book.

b
blcwrites
May 21, 2019

I'm somewhere between 2 stars and 4 on this book. The story is interesting but the characters felt flat, written at a distance by the author, and could have been even more powerful and expressive of racial and judicial inequality. The last chapters made it worth staying but left me feeling that I read a draft and that it could have been more powerful with another revision.

t
toby65
Apr 29, 2019

Perhaps one needs to be an American and/or
African- American to get what all the hype is about.
I am neither.

The characters are not terribly interesting and the
narrative is pretty much predictable.
Middle class family comes apart when husband is
wrongfully convicted.

u
uncommonreader
Apr 07, 2019

This book should be in the fantasy section. Who are these people - the Huxtables? And the portrayal of prison does a disservice to the real conditions of incarceration.

Hillsboro_ElenaG Apr 01, 2019

A compelling, character-driven story about how a black man's incarceration for a crime he didn't commit impacts his relatively new marriage to an aspiring artist. Told in alternating points of view between couple Ray and Celestial, this is a tough and emotional read at points, but well worth the time and emotional investment. (Rumor has it that the audiobook is very good too--it has dual narrators to capture the two strong voices of the book's central couple.)

n
nalahblueberry5
Mar 11, 2019

Favorite book so far this year

f
funky_d
Mar 10, 2019

Wow. Just wow. What masterpiece. The set-up. The characters. The social commentary. The brilliantly plotted story. What binds these characters - including the secrets and histories that are told in confidence to each. I could not put down this book. I was next to these characters...with them in rooms and cars and reading the letters between them. I was rooting for them, commiserating with them and watching and waiting to see what will transpire between them. I don't want to say anything that will spoil this trajectory. There is the overall story but there is the subtext, breathing and gaining life behind the larger plot points. This bittersweet story will stay with me for a long time.

e
ellenmargaret1953
Mar 03, 2019

Tayari Jones surely demonstrated why she is an award winning author. Injustice, betrayal and true love are caught in the path of a marriage. Life seems to be a dream for Roy and Celestial as newlyweds but then a horrific event occurs that crashes their lives. Best friend, Andre, and an un expected meeting between Roy and his biological father enters into the plot twist. Jones develops the characters as skillfully as she unrolls the plot.

d
DorisWaggoner
Feb 14, 2019

A satisfying character-driven story of a young up and coming black couple in today's Atlanta.
Their new marriage is tragically interrupted when Roy's falsely accused of rape. After a long stay in jail awaiting trial, he's convicted, and sentenced to 12 years in the Louisiana state penitentiary. His father, Big Roy, tries to prepare him. So does his cellmate, Walter, who by coincidence (or not) treats him well and keeps him out of trouble. Once Roy's incarcerated, that section of the novel is in epistolary mode, with letters between him and his wife Celestial, and her few visits--it's many hours between Atlanta and the prison. She's working hard on her career of making high-class, well selling sock dolls, something he suggested, and is proud of--they all look like his baby pictures. A third voice comes into the picture, Andre, who has lived next door to Celestial all her life, who introduced her to Roy, and who was his best man. As the years of Roy's sentence tick slowly by, Andre and Celestial grow into a new relationship. Her Uncle Banks files appeals, one of which, after 5 years, finally frees Roy. He comes home days before Christmas, expecting to pick up where they left off. It doesn't work out quite that way. Later this month, this will be the first book discussed by a new book club being formed in my neighborhood. I'm looking forward to the discussion. So much of the book is relevant to the plight of over-incarcerated black males today; I'm hoping we can get a real discussion of that topic going.

k
kclifford725
Feb 06, 2019

Interesting story. The middle was drawn out a bit. Powerful ending.

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wiseallison1
Dec 06, 2018

wiseallison1 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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abbi_g
Dec 27, 2018

The vast generosity of women is a mysterious tunnel, and nobody knows where it leads.

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