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A Happy Marriage: A Novel Paperback – August 10, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Of course, it could hardly be happy in the sense of blissfully moving from one joyous moment to the next. They have their problems, including the near dissolution of their marriage in its early years. What makes the reader cheer from the sidelines, even while it is revealed that Enrique had an affair, is the way he desperately wants to tell his wife, at the end of her life, how much he loves her, how much her very existence has made life worth living. His fear, as he coordinates a social calendar of final goodbyes for her friends and family, is that he won't have a chance to tell her. This fear is pervasive, and seeing how these final days unfold make the novel engrossing.
Yglesias employs beautiful turns of phrase throughout the novel, putting words to feelings that many have experienced while dealing with the illness and death of a loved one. Enrique reveals how difficult it is to help other people cope emotionally, when he is trying so hard himself to do that as well: they were "demanding he put Band-Aids on their scrapes while he was bleeding to death" (88). Enrique deals with the demands of family, particularly Margaret's parents concern with funeral arrangements.Read more ›
So it's impossible to know how much is fiction...but I will try and write this based on what happens in the book.
"A Happy Marriage" - it's a title that I first assumed described a perfect marriage. Instead, it's about a real marriage - full of sorrows and mistakes and flaws and pain. But full of joy and love and miracles as well. It's about the emotional ties between two people who were part of each other's lives for nearly thirty years, and the physical nature of human life and love.
The story is told from Enrique's point of view - and while the reader comes to know Margaret through him, it is only his version of Margaret that we see. The woman he fell in love with, the woman who became the mother to his children, the woman he cared for while she was suffering and dying. We see how his relationship with her changes him, how his knowing of her alters his life forever.
The book follows two timelines - one as Enrique and Margaret meet and one that takes place in the final weeks of Margaret's life. We watch them come together and we see as they are separated by her cancer.
"He didn't think about her dead; he didn't contemplate a future without Margaret. He understood that she would die, and die soon, but he also knew that he didn't truly believe her life would end."
As we watch the young Enrique become captivated by the young Margaret, we know, as they do not, where their story will end.Read more ›
The story starts off in 1972, when a mutual friend introduces Enrique Sabas to the vivacious and pretty, Margaret Cohen. It was love at first sight for Enrique.
Enrique comes from a rather bohemian family of writers and he too becomes a novelist, dropping out of high school at age 16 to be a published author.
Margaret comes from a more traditional upper middle-class Jewish family and she has always been at odds with her controlling mother. When she meets Enrique he is 21, and she is 3 years older. She has inherited some of her mother's controlling nature.
This book is essentially the story of their relationship - the story of a marriage. The book starts when they first meet and from almost the very beginning (so no spoiler) , we know that it will end over 30 years later with Margaret dying of cancer. And although the title is A Happy Marriage, at times it is anything but that. In many ways this book is a realistic look at the hardships of any marriage, and the difficulties endured by any two different people who share their lives together.
I really enjoyed the way the story is told. It is told in alternating chapters at different points in time. We start off when they first meet, and then hop around a bit in time as we learn what happened during the marriage. The other chapters take place in 2005 when Margaret is dying, and the heartbroken Enrique is there to take care of her and help her end her life on her terms.
This technique really adds an interesting layer to the story, and I really enjoyed the way Yglesias was able to foreshadow events in the novel. It really made this book a page-turner, and I found myself reading and finishing it way too late last night.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is not to say many wouldn't love this book, but it just wasn't my preferred genre of reading. It was recommended to me by a friend, and while she did say it's sad, I didn't... Read morePublished 11 days ago by NJA
I loved this book...the yearning and working for love, the struggling and sidestepping love, and the surrendur to and of love, honestly and beautifully told.Published 9 months ago by Karen Gaul Wallace
What a disappointment. I would hardly call their marriage happy.Published 13 months ago by M. Goldsmith
Absolutely beautiful, stunningly honest look at the life of a long-term marriage (beginning love, the ups and downs through life's many challenges, and the beauty and depth of a... Read morePublished 19 months ago by K. Dieng
This is a difficult novel to read because it is so brutally honest about real life and real dying, and real love. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Lamplighter
I have read this book twice cover-to-cover and picked it up several more times for selected chapters. I have it in hard back, paper, and now it's on my Kindle, as well. Read morePublished 23 months ago by C. A. Parker
i was unable to ge through the sadness of this book, but if you want this subject, then this book will reveal human nature confronting a medical terror.Published on January 2, 2014 by Enchante