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Falling: The Story of One Marriage Paperback – August 1, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Marriage doesn't just break down," observes Taylor, a distinguished ex-Esquire writer. "We disconnect the life support." To list the Taylors' problems scarcely does justice to his thoughtful account of their doomed 11-year marriage: age difference (he was 26; she, 32), her Parkinson's disease, her alienation after forsaking a writing career for motherhood, his adultery, his panicky consideration of "the Belize option" (if you flee with your assets to dodge alimony, Belize won't extradite).

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor's lovers are vividly sketched. Alex, the most rounded extramarital character, survived a Marseilles orgy ending in a death by coke overdose and became a successful businesswoman bent on marrying Taylor, but wound up with only one steady relationship--with her therapist. The author gets the fullest portrait here. A childhood bouncing around the world from Accra, Ghana, to Yokosuka, Japan, may have predisposed him to domestic change, and his big-headed, big-town milieu was rife with divorce (the wife of Taylor's dad's close friend phoned from a billionaire's jet to say she was taking off with the billionaire--who had been their best man). Taylor skillfully interweaves others' sad tales with his own and with historical evidence from the classic Family, Sex, and Marriage in England 1500-1800. He doesn't solve the quintessential questions, but sheds both warmth and light on the whole emotional roller coaster. And the romantic tunes his wife introduced him to (Songs of the Auvergne and Tous les matins du monde) won't ever stop plucking his heartstrings. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Taylor (Storming the Magic Kingdom) has written an eloquent and deeply felt memoir about the demise of his 11-year marriage. Taylor married his wife when he was 26 and she was 32, after they had been living together for more than a year. Almost immediately their marriage underwent a severe strain when his wife was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which made her subsequent pregnancy fraught with anxiety for both of them. Although Taylor was delighted by the birth of his daughter, the years following were marked by a slow but progressive breakdown in communication between husband and wife. Taylor felt that his wife became resentful at her dependency on him, and, as their estrangement grew, he coped by having an affair and later moving out. The couple made several attempts to salvage the marriage for the sake of their daughter, and Taylor sensitively conveys his grief over the failure of these efforts. Clearly, neither Taylor nor his wife embarked on the path of divorce lightly, and Taylor manages to convey the sense of loss he will always feel without sounding sorry for himself. While this is an overwhelmingly personal book, Taylor does take a few well-aimed shots at family-values pundits who decry the "divorce culture" and view divorce as a failure of moral will. "While it requires will to make a marriage work," Taylor writes, "it also requires a horrifying act of will to bring one to an end." Author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345439562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345439567
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Crepuscular on January 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book was extremely well written, sad, compelling, and frustrating. Mr. Taylor comes across as very introspective and thoughtful, except in the one critical area of his several extramarital affairs, which, if I was figuring the chronology correctly, began awfully early in his marriage. And if the idea of family was so important to him, as he stresses over and over, why didn't he try to strengthen his marriage and his family by NOT HAVING THE AFFAIRS? It's one thing to give your marriage every possible chance to succeed, and quite another to sabotage it from several angles. Mr. Taylor's character seems to combine admirable qualities of honor and duty with an unawareness of his sizable narcissism--which displays itself in his relationships with his lovers and their husbands as well. What kind of person would agree to be introduced to his lover's unknowing husband? This is an act either of cruelty, or completely oblivious narcissism.
The author's wife, though thinly sketched, seemed true to life, as my opinion of her wavered between sympathetic and unsympathetic. She felt limited and frustrated by her at-home-mother role, yet resisted finding full time work, and ultimately demanded lifetime financial maintenance from the author. I found myself wondering if the author had published this book in order to keep up his alimony payments.
In the interests of fairness, I don't mean to condemn the author simply for failing at marriage. I can't fault someone for entering into a union with more hope than realism; and after all, no one can see into the future. I guess all you can do is know yourself, and know the other person as best you can, and try your hardest. But it certainly seems that our tolerance for struggle, difficulty, and discontent has never been lower.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Taylor's book is much more his story than that of a marriage. We are privy to a great deal of his own critical self evaluation, yet we learn very little about his marriage. Taylor deserves credit for his indepth and insightful commentary on his own thinking over the course of a marriage. He is a man trying to make sense of vast confrontations between parts of himself. But the novel falls short of offering any inexorable truths about marriage, other than not to repeat the sins of the author. At times we question the very character of the author, a self serving egoist who has very little to say about the people in his life other than to tell us about their sophisticated jobs, travel schedules, and their favorite drinks. Did the author ever get past the superficial with anyone, let alone his wife? He doesn't seem to have a real relationship with anyone. Should we be surprised when it doesn't develop with his wife? If a reader wants to learn about much of what is wrong with modern marriage, Falling is an excellent and penetrating example, even if the writer doesn't see it himself. However, if readers are looking to gain insight on what the story of a good marriage might look like, they should look elsewhere. May I recommend Sheldon Vaunauken's masterful love story, A Severe Mercy, to those of you who would like to walk away from a story of marriage feeling more than saddened by the writer's failed understanding of the institution he was so interested in writing about.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I admire mr. taylor for tackling this difficult subject matter, and yet I cannot help feeling a certain amount of disdain also for his chronic dishonesty, which I feel leaks over into his work...otherwise, surely tere would have been some discussion of his wife's pain at his betrayals and lies. we never really understand why he lives such a vapid and shallow existence, careening from one affair to the next and enjoying sriticizing these women in print -- collecting all their best lines in the process. additionally, I feel he takes too much false comfort from announcing at the beginning of the book that it was his wife that asked for the divorce. what choice had she? he is no more a noble protaganist than is seen in Americam Psycho, which at least makes no pretension to compassion or self actualization. probably a companion volume to this would be Breakup, by catherine texier, which actually shows more compassion and truth and does not sugar coat the sordid details of this kind of demise. mr. taylor is a gifted writer, true -- certain phrases were incredible -- yet when will he delve into the country of honesty? or is show and tell more profitable from arm's length....more bearable for him, I suspect. he seems to approach his marriage and his wife's illness from the vantage point of a journalist, not a man. I wanted to respect his forthrightness but I ended up feeling mildly disgusted.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Taylor is a good writer, but a failure as a husband. This book fascinates and repels at the same time, as we see Taylor quickly give up on his marriage when it becomes the least bit uncomfortable for him. The reader barely gets to know his wife as a character, except for the fact that she has Parkinson's disease at a young age. With her lack of development, it's difficult to understand the depth of their marital problems. What we do learn about Taylor is that he unhesitantly indulges his needs when they arise, including infidelities. Though he reports his parents had a good marriage, he doesn't seem to have learned anything from them on how to work towards having one himself.
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