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A Happy Marriage: A Novel Hardcover – July 7, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Yglesias (Fearless) delivers his first novel in 13 years, an autobiographical and devastatingly raw appraisal of a nearly 30-year marriage. As the novel opens in 1975, 21-year-old Enrique Sabas, a high school–dropout literary wunderkind, has just met Margaret Cohen, a vivacious, beautiful budding graphic designer who will become the love of his life. Enrique and Margaret's romantic and sexual misadventures during the first awkward weeks of their courtship are interspersed with scenes from the couple's three decades together before Margaret succumbs to cancer: raising children, losing a parent, the temptation of an easy affair. Margaret's physical decline and Enrique's acknowledgment of guilt, inadequacy and a selfish desire to postpone his loss are described in blunt, heart-wrenching detail, and Enrique's ongoing struggles to define the nature of masculinity, the significance of art and the value of marriage add a philosophical layer to the domestic snapshots. Although the couple's privileged lifestyle can get in the way of the reader-character bond, the texture of their marriage and the pain of their loss will be familiar to anyone who has shared a long-term relationship. (July)
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Yglesias is brutally honest in this deeply personal account of his thorny, but ultimately loving, marriage. He tells the parallel stories of the beginning and the end of this relationship "in something of a tour de force of novelistic architecture" (New York Times), which strikes a fine balance between the heady excitement of budding romance and the agonizing loss of enduring love. Though the story line may seem predictable at first, Yglesias throws in enough twists, surprises, and emotional urgency to keep readers turning the pages, and his fully realized—if not always likeable—characters are wholly convincing. A "profound deliberation on the nature of love, marriage, and the process of dying" (New York Times), this visceral, poignant novel will break your heart.
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Enrique Sabas and Margaret Cohen meet via a mutual friend. A friend who did not want to introduce Enrique to Margaret, she was too good for him. Needless to say, instant attraction ensued. Sexual gratification was a different matter. Enrique had left school at age 16 to write a novel, and he had been successful. Margaret was a graduate of college and worked in the arts and advertising world. They were in love and married. The novel brings us their life
in a mixture of the here and now, and the past. The here and now, is a picture of life at the end, Margaret is dying of kidney cancer after a two year fight. It is time to give up, after multiple procedures, the time has come. In the past, Enrique tells of their first meetings, their falling out of love, their therapies, their coming together, their sons and the life they have led. The 'here and now' is tough. A gritty look at the face of cancer, and the dying
and the messes, and the people involved. The family who grieves, the good-byes, the parents who never knew how to communicate their love. The final words from and to your lover. The sweet memories.
A book that is autobiographical. It is a wonderful look at the lives of people like us. We love and live and don't think about the ending of it all. This is a memorial of a loved one.
Highly Recommended. prisrob 09-05-09