An American Marriage

An American Marriage

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial know...

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Title:An American Marriage
Author:Tayari Jones
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An American Marriage Reviews

  • Cynthia

    The good news is, I loved this book! The bad news, it won't be published until early 2018. But it is terrific!

  • Sue

    This was an outstanding novel. It's the first book that I've read by this author but it won't be the last - in fact I just ordered one of her earlier books. This is a book that will make you smile and make you cry because you will be so invested into the lives of the two main characters. Celestial and Roy are so well written - flaws and all - that you feel like you know them.

    Celestial and Roy have been married just over a year. They are both successful in their careers, own a nice house and are

    This was an outstanding novel. It's the first book that I've read by this author but it won't be the last - in fact I just ordered one of her earlier books. This is a book that will make you smile and make you cry because you will be so invested into the lives of the two main characters. Celestial and Roy are so well written - flaws and all - that you feel like you know them.

    Celestial and Roy have been married just over a year. They are both successful in their careers, own a nice house and are starting to talk about starting a family. Despite the normal problems that exist in marriage, they are in love and making plans for their future. Then something horrendous happens that puts all of their plans on hold when Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime that they both know he didn't commit. They are both lost in their new lives and their love for each other becomes less as time goes on. During Roy's time in prison, the author had them communicating through letters showing their increased distance from each other. Will they be able to go back to their old lives when Roy gets out of prison or will the changes in both of their lives make it impossible for that to happen?

    This is a wonderful novel about love and marriage, racial injustice and the difference between the rich and the poor in this country. The main characters are well written but there are other secondary characters that are just as memorable. This is a book that will stay in my mind long after the last page was read.

    Thanks to librarything for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

  • Dusky Literati

    My first read of 2018. Lives up to all the buzz

  • Yalonda

    I read it in about 24 hours. By the end of the Epilogue, I was wiping tears. Being an almost-divorced woman, I wasn't sure how I'd feel reading An American Marriage, but I'm so glad I did. It swept me up in the first few pages and still hasn't let me go. Like I told Tayari: this is one hell of a book. I would sit Jones's An American Marriage and Victor LaValle's The Changeling side by side; they resonate well together. An American Marriage comes out Feb. 6, 2018. Get it. Read it. Feel it. There

    I read it in about 24 hours. By the end of the Epilogue, I was wiping tears. Being an almost-divorced woman, I wasn't sure how I'd feel reading An American Marriage, but I'm so glad I did. It swept me up in the first few pages and still hasn't let me go. Like I told Tayari: this is one hell of a book. I would sit Jones's An American Marriage and Victor LaValle's The Changeling side by side; they resonate well together. An American Marriage comes out Feb. 6, 2018. Get it. Read it. Feel it. There a deep roots here.

  • Marjorie

    Roy and Celestial have been married for about a year and are thinking of finding a bigger house and starting a family. Roy has a good job and Celestial is doing well creating her artistic dolls. Their love for each other is strong. All of that falls to pieces when Roy is convicted of a crime he’s innocent of. Separated by this unjust verdict, Celestial is finding it hard to hold on to a marriage that hadn’t yet had time to “take”. She compares their marriage to a tree that has had a limb of anot

    Roy and Celestial have been married for about a year and are thinking of finding a bigger house and starting a family. Roy has a good job and Celestial is doing well creating her artistic dolls. Their love for each other is strong. All of that falls to pieces when Roy is convicted of a crime he’s innocent of. Separated by this unjust verdict, Celestial is finding it hard to hold on to a marriage that hadn’t yet had time to “take”. She compares their marriage to a tree that has had a limb of another tree grafted on to it but the graft hasn’t taken yet. In her loneliness, she turns more and more to Andre, her childhood friend. Will this separation between husband and wife completely sever their ties?

    This is a beautifully written book that not only takes an in depth look at an American marriage that has been dealt a severe blow but also racial injustice. I love how the author switches to using only letters between the characters once Roy is sentenced to prison. It underscores the separation and distance that has been imposed between these two. They’re each fighting their individual battles – Roy with the injustice of what has been done to him and all that he’s lost when he has tried so hard to do everything right and Celestial is dealing with a battle between responsibility and desire.

    The love story is heart wrenching and the suspense of what will happen is often unbearable. Highly recommended.

    This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

  • Joshunda Sanders

    It's hard to say exactly what I love most about Tayari's work and she's one of those writers that I have been reading now for a period of time that is hard for me to capture. This is weird because I keep really good track of time being the Capricorn that I am, ruled by Saturn, and completely obsessed with the timing of things.

    Reading An American Marriage, though, ultimately revealed to me the essence of what makes Tayari's work special and what makes this particular work so beautiful -- it is t

    It's hard to say exactly what I love most about Tayari's work and she's one of those writers that I have been reading now for a period of time that is hard for me to capture. This is weird because I keep really good track of time being the Capricorn that I am, ruled by Saturn, and completely obsessed with the timing of things.

    Reading An American Marriage, though, ultimately revealed to me the essence of what makes Tayari's work special and what makes this particular work so beautiful -- it is timeless. Not just timeless in a way that is unbound by the trends of any specific generation, but unrestricted by the rules or limits of time in a way that distinguishes classic narratives and poems.

    An American Marriage is a multi-layered, multi-generational story of black love in the American South. I love it because it has the colloquial resonance of home in every chapter, on every page. Roy and Celestial are at the center, a couple whose love feels almost too perfect not to be disturbed by the realities of the world for black people.

    This is tricky, to move into statistical, current territory -- the weight of incarceration for black folk is such that no contemporary black novelist has touched it with any real flair or without a voice that is at least slightly trite. But Tayari is unique and at home with these characters who she is determined to do justice to, to give justice to, and so her treatment of how incarceration lacerates and changes their lives more than exceeds expectations.

    The texture, pacing and humanity at the heart of An American Marriage reveal levels of intimacy central to the black American experience in the 21st century that have not been addressed with this measure of discipline or empathy. These are the literary achievements, but more than these are the ways in which An American Marriage speaks directly to the heart.

    I'm a city girl, even though like most black folks, my kin are all from the American South and made their way up to the North via the Great Migration. Our folks hail from The South and the family that I know and can hug and hold (and do as often as I can) have not returned as part of the reverse migration. I mention all of this because even if you have not really lived in The South as a black person or grown up there, there is something of The South in your flesh, in your bones because of your kin, your ancestors. I knew Georgia and Louisiana and the depths of love and the reach of heartbreak and the grandstanding of the men in this book and the soft corners of the women in this novel like they were flesh and bone because I could sense them in my personal history.

    The power and achievement of An American Marriage is in craft and the lovely structure of the story and in the telling that is unique to Tayari, yes. But it is also glorious for a black woman like me to see and feel and experience the deep connectedness of spirit that can only happen in black love and in a finely crafted work like this; to see, laid out, over 300+ pages, how quickly the complexity of love can turn and challenge the truth of what you thought you knew and understood, regardless of race, or location, or freedom status.

    Tayari is a novelist whose work I have admired for years now. An American Marriage, to me, indicates her coming into another aspect of her literary/storytelling powers. I don't often read books multiple times, but I'm looking forward to reading this one again, and pressing it into the hands of the ones I know will love it and understand why it's important and necessary and urgently timeless.

  • Diane S ☔

    Roy has done the best he could with the life he was given. Now married to Celestial, a young woman with dreams of her own, are traveling to meet his parents for the first time. The visit will prove less than successful, and a terrible miscarriage of Justice will occur that will detail their young lives and marriage.

    These are characters to that one wants to root for, wants things to turn out well for them. Of course, life seldom works that way, things change, circumstances beyond ones control int

    Roy has done the best he could with the life he was given. Now married to Celestial, a young woman with dreams of her own, are traveling to meet his parents for the first time. The visit will prove less than successful, and a terrible miscarriage of Justice will occur that will detail their young lives and marriage.

    These are characters to that one wants to root for, wants things to turn out well for them. Of course, life seldom works that way, things change, circumstances beyond ones control interfere. A story where events shape a future, where a chance meeting changes a life, where the only bad guy is the Justice system, a system it is almost impossible to defeat. The high cost of incarceration, prisons full of young black men, many times not given a voice, not believed or railroaded by a system who believes the must be guilty. For Roy, his life will never be the same. He must fight to remember who he was, where he was and what he wanted in his life.

    This author does an amazing job detailing the crisis in a marriage that was interrupted by the system. Her writing is clear, concise, but pointed and sharp. The characters fully developed people with wants and needs of their own. The love of a family, a father who cares for a son that was not always his, and a young woman who must make a decision that will definitely her life going forward. Quite a book, quite a story.

    ARC from Edelweiss.

  • Tracey

    There was so much to love in this book. Tayari Jones is an amazing writer.

  • Jessica Woodbury

    If you can, read this without knowing anything about it. It won't be destroyed if you know the hook, but the first section will lose a bit of its grip and its grip is fantastic.

    This is a book about marriage and the very specific kind of loyalty it asks us to give. Is that loyalty a fair thing to ask? Is it right? What circumstances excuse breaking this bond?

    Celestial and Roy face their own unique set of struggles and privileges when they marry. Some marriages are defined by where each of you co

    If you can, read this without knowing anything about it. It won't be destroyed if you know the hook, but the first section will lose a bit of its grip and its grip is fantastic.

    This is a book about marriage and the very specific kind of loyalty it asks us to give. Is that loyalty a fair thing to ask? Is it right? What circumstances excuse breaking this bond?

    Celestial and Roy face their own unique set of struggles and privileges when they marry. Some marriages are defined by where each of you comes from. But others can be changed forever by what happens after you're together. And when those things happen, you're forced to ask yourself whether your marriage can see it through. The beauty of this book is how both Celestial and Roy are allowed to exist as full, complex people. They can be selfish and spiteful. They can show love and empathy. They don't always make the right decision or do the right thing. They go through a lot together and the reader gets to follow along as they figure out how to move forward together or apart.

    A segment of the book takes place through letters they write each other and it's astonishingly effective at providing the relationship with an emotional core, letting them both show themselves and hide as they poke and prod one another with accusations and anger.

    Like much of the fiction I've enjoyed in the last few years this is also an intersectional novel analyzing issues of race, class, and gender through the lives of its characters.

    An excellent book club pick for a group that likes hot button issues and meaty discussion topics.

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