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Matrimony: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – August 26, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Henkin's straightforward, reserved prose strikes just the right tone, so that the story is touching, but never maudlin. He has a witty take on the singular world of writing workshops and the writer's struggle to create. Henkin also deftly tackles issues of class and family history, how those things can shape our lives and sometimes haunt us. A deeply felt story and an excellent read.
But in his quiet way, Henkin builds his characters slowly and incrementally, letting them speak for themselves and permitting them to develop over the course of nearly two decades of life. Julian and Mia become real people that the reader begins to know well as they grow naturally from a college-dorm infatuation to a certain mid-thirties maturity. In a way, Henkin has made a more audacious choice in permitting his novel to proceed in this fashion rather than in a noisier manner. Henkin is writing a novel that is at least in part a novel about how to write a novel, and Julian, plagued by writer's block, seems to an extent a stand-in for the author. In crafting this novel, Henkin is implicitly showing us the choices Julian has made. He successfully avoids the trap of boring his readers with countless domestic specifics; instead, those same details of clothing, popular tunes, dormitory furnishings, and the like serve to make Julian and Mia more credible.
The story follows Julian Wainwright, who happens to be an aspiring author, through his college years and life after he has married Mia, his college sweetheart. The entire story reeked of auto-biography to me, which Henkin admits on his website he did write a few details that could be seen that way, but mainly I absolutely loathed the two main characters. Both Julian and Mia came across as self-absorbed and aloof, two qualities I don't particularly admire.
Another problem I had was that there was a lot of discussion between Julian and his best friend, Carter, about what makes a good short story or novel. To me this seemed to hurt Henkin in the end because I felt like he was doing things that his own characters say not to do.... it left me confused.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book started out weak and never picked up steam by the time I was a little over 40 pages in. It is mostly dialogue, and not very believable dialogue either. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Mom of Sons
Julian goes to college to become a writer. I had to sit through his classes while his pompous professor lists endless commandments about what not todo. I think Mr. Read morePublished 14 months ago by BUBS
So many of the books I have written are about characters who are writers and the trials and travails of their relationships. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Naomi Graetz
Anyone besides me hate anachronisms? College is late 80s, right? what's wrong with this paragraph:
Then Mia was going to the library, too, where she looked up breast... Read more
Excellent novel telling the story of marraiges that evolve through the years. Joshua Henkin is an excellent writer and gives his readers true to life situations and they are... Read morePublished on June 13, 2013 by Claire Gochman
Oh, Joshua Henkin! You write such wonderful books! This was my second book by him (the first being The World Without You) and I loved them both! Read morePublished on March 10, 2013 by Allison
Ok, I may be biased because I went to school in Ann Arbor, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. The characters seemed so like people I know and I felt for them... Read morePublished on August 11, 2012 by Iris S.
Slowly the story unfolds, bringing characters such as Waspy Julian Wainwright and scholarship student Carter Heinz to life, as they begin their journey as college students. Read morePublished on April 5, 2012 by Laurel-Rain Snow