An American Marriage

Tayari Jones       Pages: 308      Published: 2018

The book: Celestial and Roy are happy newlyweds. Both are at the beginning of their respective careers and doing well. The future looks bright. Then Roy is arrested and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. What will become of their relationship? How will they both cope with their changed circumstances? Will Roy languish in prison for twelve years, or can he be proven innocent?

You might like it because: Jones is both a master storyteller and an exceptionally skilled writer.  She connects the reader to her characters so deftly that before you know it you will feel as if you are sitting right beside them the on their emotional roller-coaster ride.  There are no loose ends in the plot, but Jones leaves the reader with so much to ponder and debate that this book will live with you long after you put it down.

What did other people say?
“It is beautifully written, with many allusions to black music and culture — including the everyday poetry of the African-American community that begs to be heard.”
The New York Times

“Heart-wrenching…“An American Marriage” poses profound questions about what we owe each other, and what injustices we allow to persist.” – Huffington Post

Awards & Recognition:
Longlisted for 2018 National Book Awards for Fiction

How quickly will you get into the book? Jones had me vested in her characters’ lives within the first two pages.

You might not like it because: Jones deliberately creates characters who are flawed so that the situation is not cut and dried, and the reader is left to question things. However, these flaws might make it hard for some readers to connect to the characters.

What might you read next?
In November 2018 Jones wrote a piece for the New York Times about author Ann Petry. She said, “Petry’s novel The Street is my favorite type of novel, literary with an astonishing plot.” Why not read that book?

In a New York Times interview, Jones was asked what was the last book that made her laugh. Her answer: “Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires.” You could pick up that one.

© 2019

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