A really good read - An American Marriage
Oh my goodness, what a scorchingly good book this is! No wonder it’s an international sensation and the winner of the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
The story of newlyweds Celestial and Roy and what happens when Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, An American Marriage is a profoundly compelling, beautifully nuanced examination of love, marriage, racism, injustice, strength and the corrosive effect of separation.
If that makes the book sound at all worthy or hard-going, it is never either. Author Tayari Jones’s supreme skill is her ability to write with heart-piercing lyricism and deceptive simplicity, revealing the heart and soul of each character in such a way that your sympathy for, and empathy with, their complex, complicated situations and emotions never wavers.
Different viewpoints as the story unfolds
Using different narrative devices and alternating between the viewpoint of the three main characters - Celestial, Roy and their closest friend, Andre - Tayari tenderly unfolds the story of Roy and Celestial’s relationship and marriage, his time in prison, her life as an abandoned young wife, and what happens when his conviction is suddenly overturned and he returns home.
Unforgiving, but never judgemental, in her depiction of the characters’ flaws, Tayari carries you with them as they each wrestle with the desire to do what is kindest and best in the most difficult and cruel of situations.
This is one of those books that you don’t want to end. But when it inevitably does, one that lingers with you for a long time afterwards.
It’s an absolute gem.
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