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.

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RosaReads2
Jan 08, 2019

I'm so confused by my conflicting emotions throughout this book. Some of which I felt were legitimate, while others felt contradictory. One thing for sure, this book is relevant to the plight of African American males. My heart broke for Roy and his innocent incarceration and then what he came home to. At the same time, I found many of the actions by all three of the main characters to be irredeemable. Including Roy. Hence, my confusing emotions. They turned again when I started choking up during the epilogue. I can't deny that this wasn't a fascinating story line with stellar writing. Emotionally, I didn't find it to be an easy read, but the thought provoking and relevant story kept me turning pages.

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KatG1983
Jan 07, 2019

An American Marriage is a heartbreaking novel that tells the story of Roy and Celestial, a young couple just over a year into marriage when Roy is arrested an imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Sadly this work of fiction is entirely too real for many people, and depicts the damage that is done to those in the prison system. Beautifully written, you won't be able to shake this one for a while.

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dianescottburrows
Dec 29, 2018

2018 Oprah Book Club Newlyweds split when husband wrongly convicted of a crime wife knows he didn't commit. Exonerated, 5 years later, he return to a new life and a new wife. Page turner.

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jmreid1220
Dec 29, 2018

On Barack Obama's Top Books of 2018

“Until Death Do Us Part” or… until jail sets us apart – that’s a focal point of this well written, discussion-stirring novel by Tayari Jones. Celestial and Roy are a married couple, just one year into their love-filled relationship, doing well financially, planning for a child – when something unexpected happens and overturns their lives, sending Roy to prison for 12 years. Now, Celestial is at the cross roads and it seems like no matter what she chooses there is no joyful solution for either her or Roy. The first half of the book just zoomed by me; it was easy flowing and intriguing. The second half did slow down a bit, but it was still very good. The book touches on multiple subject matters including: racism, injustice, love & friendship, obligations, search for happiness. A good book for a book club discussion – evokes various feelings and opinions. (Submitted by Mariya)

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HKMar
Nov 23, 2018

A must read. Socio-political issues are the undertones of this book; however, the love stories and character development/growth is fascinating. It's a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride. The perspectives of all the characters make this a great read. I would like to see this book adapted into a movie.

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legalsec2504
Nov 20, 2018

Nytimes 2018 recommended book

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ednabw
Nov 16, 2018

Good story for an enlightening book discussion which offers the reader an opportunity to reflect on personal views about what defines a marriage, considering how friendships evolve depending on the current situation and how behavior can be affected by one’s relationship with parents.

DPL_Graham Nov 05, 2018

At the heart of “An American Marriage” is an old-school love triangle. The main characters are surrounded by mothers and fathers who have each come from unstable relationships: divorce, cheating, and love triangles of their own. With that setup, it is no wonder that the main stories love triangle is hard to watch and why the main characters all find themselves irrepressibly pulled towards unstable actions and conclusions.

An “American Marriage” starts off with a bang! In the first 40 pages character are born, married, fight over families, and then Celestial’s husband Roy is sent to prison for 12 years for a crime he didn’t commit. While Roy is in prison Celestial grows into a relationship with Dre, Celestial’s perennial “Friend Zoned” childhood bestie. The consequences leads into ugliness on all sides.

This is an easy read you can tear through in a few hours. The novel delivered entertaining reading and the characters and their decisions bounced through my mind afterwards – but my thoughts and feelings were of frustration at their unfeeling actions and lack of decisiveness. All of the main characters exhibit the ugly side of relationships and humanity and their string of bad decisions made them all very unsympathetic.

Author Tayari Jones was inspired to write this novel thanks to a chance encounter in an Atlanta mall where she heard a couple arguing. The line that stuck with her was the female saying: “You know you wouldn't have waited on me for seven years. And he said, I don't know what you're talking about. This wouldn't have happened to you in the first place.” This small moment in time was the seed that fertilized the growth of “An American Marriage.”

*An American Marriage is on the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Longlist

a
annagraceiaboni
Oct 25, 2018

This book had me hooked from start to finish.

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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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