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The Forever Marriage Hardcover – June 14, 2012

42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Told with delicacy and humor."
(--Garrison Keillor

)

"A triumph of good writing."
(--The Washington Post )

"Bauer expertly maps the ferocity and anguish of a parent's love . . . Exceptional storytelling."
(--Entertainment Weekly )

"With quiet power, Bauer explores the isolation, betrayal, duty, and, finally, compassion that constitute an unhappy marriage . . . With lovely prose and fine pacing, Bauer (A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards) offers a sensitive portrait of a flawed woman coming to terms with a lifetime of regrets."
(--Publishers Weekly, starred review )

"Bauer deftly draws all the characters. Love or hate Carmen, readers won't soon forget the hot-blooded woman, and fans of Elizabeth Berg will want to meet her."
(--Library Journal )

"Written in a contemporary style that evokes the work of Anne Tyler, this is not only a well-nuanced story of youthful mistakes and adult consequences but also an unflinching look at one woman's fight against breast cancer."
(--Booklist )

"Bauer's second novel (A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards, 2005) offers an introspective study of a woman as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery . . . At times dispassionate and self-absorbed and at other times emotional and selfless, Carmen follows a path of self-discovery that is often painful, poignant and undeniably real. Bauer crafts an insightful story . . . It's a journey well worth taking."
(--Kirkus

)

"Summarizing the plot of this richly layered and nuanced story could leave an impression that it's grim. It isn't. The novel is infused with a sense of grace and redemption for characters Bauer makes us care about."
(--St. Paul Pioneer Press )

"Compelling . . . Bauer and The Forever Marriage poignantly and powerfully illustrate the great and often tragic ironies of life . . . a perfect read."
(--Minneapolis Star Tribune )

"Funny, surprising and gratifyingly honest, this novel poses unsparing questions about love and betrayal and the reasons we make the choices we do."
(--More Magazine )

"While in many ways a quiet story with a subtle arc, it is also an emotionally powerful page-turner—memorable and exquisitely written."
(BookReporter.com ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ann Bauer is author of two novels, The Forever Marriage and A Wild Ride up the Cupboards, and co-author of the culinary memoir, Damn Good Food. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Elle, Redbook, and The Sun. From 2006 to 2010, she was a regular contributor to Salon. She splits her time between Minneapolis and Boston.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The Overlook Press (June 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590207211
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590207215
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,402,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ann Bauer is author of two novels, The Forever Marriage and A Wild Ride up the Cupboards, and co-author of the culinary memoir, Damn Good Food. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Elle, Redbook, and The Sun. From 2006 to 2010, she was a regular contributor to Salon. She splits her time between Minneapolis and Boston.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lauren on July 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Forever Marriage blew me away with its intelligence and unflinching honesty. Carmen is a deeply flawed, deeply relatable character, and Bauer analyzes her far-reaching, sometimes kind-hearted and sometimes just plain wrong-headed choices with a clear gaze and a lovely, surprising style. This is a book about a complex woman and a troubled marriage, and Bauer depicts both with compassion and clarity. When I put the book down I felt something I don't always feel, as a reader: that my own intelligence was respected and challenged as I was granted access to Carmen's thoughts and emotions. I can't recommend this highly enough!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Steven Reads on July 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
After reading the stellar (all 5 star) reviews for "The Forever Marriage," I decided to buy and read it. Knowing this was a novel with "a feminine slant" to it, nonetheless I am an adventuous reader, especially when the reviews warrant me to be.

Good writing? yes. Characters described in detail? Yes. Contemporary, true-to-life story? Could be. But other than a true-to-life topic, this novel had a convenient, sort of predictable and less than fulfilling ending which (finally) came. There was a lot of plodding, redundant and (overly) depressing subject matter and dialogue in which the author seemed to allow herself to go repeatedly without much anecdotal uplifting writing - not necessarily humorous, given the subject matter - but a chuckle here and there could have improved the story.

It was a challenge for me to finish this book and when I finally did I was less than satisfied then previous reviewers.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Merle Minda on June 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This novel is about imperfect characters, an imperfect marriage and the strains and rewards of going on with life -- in this case -- also in the face of huge physical obstacles. These characters touched and spoke to me because of their imperfections -- and I could relate. Carmen, the main character -- stuck in her imperfect life -- reaches out and grabs tightly onto your heart, remaining there for the duration and long afterwards. Her life with her unloved husband, her children, her lover, her adored mother-in-law, and friends faces unbelievable obstacles -- her husband's death, her own terrible breast cancer diagnosis and fight to stay alive, her children's problems. It never ends but then, it doesn't for any of us, does it? The mathmetician husband's thinking and theme grounds the whole novel somehow in improbability and how expected the totally unexpected can be. The riveting story, and the incredible and luminous writing, touched me with every word.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By penemac on July 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved how the story was weaved together and kept interesting by the flashbacks and current events. The ending was slightly disappointing but I understand the character's flaw much better let's just say.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Erin M on September 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story never picks up. I tried to give it a chance and read half of it. You just never really empathize with the main character. You can't understand why she has no real passion or interest in anyone but herself. She's a very self-centered, un-relatable character, which just makes the whole book boring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on September 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Jobe died on a cool April morning that smelled of wet earth and cherry blossoms."

With this sentence, we enter the life of new widow Carmen as she stands in her kitchen with a dish towel in one hand and a coffee cup in the other, watching her husband take his last breath. Carmen has been waiting for this moment, yearning to be alone, for more than 21 years --- ever since she married the man she knew she didn't (and possibly would never) love. Now, on this spring day in 2007, she experiences a range of emotions beginning with relief and ending with a tapestry woven of excitement, horror and dread. It feels to Carmen as if the whole world is opening up to her at last. Yet, as she contemplates the days ahead, how she must comfort Olive, her mother-in-law, and the three children sure to be devastated by their father's death, she experiences a ripple of unexpected loneliness.

Carmen anticipates telling the news to Luca, her eldest child, who is a grown man with Down syndrome. She recalls what an excellent, caring father Jobe was. It doesn't seem fair that such a loving man must die in order for her to finally be free. Suddenly, she finds herself at a loss. Jobe was the partner in the marriage who knew the procedures to follow in any given circumstance. She ponders calling 911 (surely not, she decides) and finally resolves to call Olive, although she fears she will blurt out her relief at finding herself liberated by her son's death. The only person Carmen really wants to speak to is Danny, her married librarian lover. But how to let Danny know? Texting doesn't seem quite respectful enough, given the circumstances.

As Carmen stands contemplating and unable to make a move, she gazes at her husband's body and remembers their honeymoon.
Read more ›
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ms Stephanie on June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The world of Carmen, the protagonist of THE FOREVER MARRIAGE, is a familiar American one: nice suburbs; pretty, smart, family. But Carmen has dark secrets and harbors an unspoken tangle of desires and regrets that only come to light when her unloved husband dies. Her affairs, her feelings about motherhood (especially having a learning disabled child at a young age), her yearning for independence even though she's not sure who she is and what she wants, exactly--I just loved her, and I could not put this book down!

She writes so well that it doesn't feel too "writerly"--it just feels real. The conversations, confrontations, sex scenes--they are all brilliant. One to pass on to your best friends (especially the married ones) once you're done!
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