Monday, August 24, 2009

Description (From the Simon and Schuster website)

"A Happy Marriage is both intimate and expansive: It is the story of Enrique Sabas and his wife, Margaret, a novel that alternates between the romantic misadventures of the first weeks of their courtship and the final months of Margaret's life as she says good-bye to her family, friends, and children -- and to Enrique. Spanning thirty years, this achingly honest story is about what it means for two people to spend a lifetime together -- and what makes a happy marriage.

Yglesias's career as a novelist began in 1970 when he wrote an autobiographical novel at sixteen, hailed by critics for its stunning and revelatory depiction of adolescence. A Happy Marriage, his first work of fiction in thirteen years, was inspired by his relationship with his wife, Margaret, who died in 2004. Bold, elegiac, and emotionally suspenseful, even though we know what happens, Yglesias's beautiful novel will break every reader's heart -- while encouraging all of us with its clear-eyed evocation of the enduring value of marriage."

My Review:

A Happy Marriage it turns out is not A Happy Book, though you feel joy, love, delight, warmth and beauty many times throughout. It does also evoke a lot of sadness. I don't think I am giving anything away by stating that death plays a big role as does suffering. But what we do in the face of suffering and impending death is reflect and ponder. That is what this book does really well, what Yglesias writes really well. Yglesias did not have to go far to tap into the raw honesty and emotion. Each chapter is a look at the marriage of Enrique and Margaret, at different stages. Going back and forth in time, the reader gets to experience the anxiety of their first love, the time of boredom and hardship and the very explicit detail of Margaret's painful months. Enrique is such a vivid character and the way the author writes of his thoughts and reactions is such like watching the pounding surf,mesmerizing. Admittedly I did not always like him but I understood him. I understood his love for her, his insecurity with himself, his nurturing hand, his disgust for the cruelty of the disease. Margaret, though central, is much more of a distant creature to me, sort of haunting the corners, casting her shadows. You feel her and hear her but you do not see her. Writing about the death of a loved one is extremely personal and very awkward at times to read. I wanted to jump in and fix everything or just shield my eyes when I felt I was invading privacy. I had the same feeling reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova (pick it up if you have not done so already). That mood of the book attests to the power of the story itself and leaves a very clear message to readers. Hold tight to the ones you love and live with no regrets. I highly recommend this book.

This book is already out in bookstores.

Happy Reading?

*red headed book child