Cover image for An American marriage
Title:
An American marriage
Title:
An American marriage
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, [2018]
Physical Description:
308 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Pagination may vary.
Abstract:
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 knows he didn't commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy's time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
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Summary

Summary

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB 2018 SELECTION

"Haunting . . . Beautifully written." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Brilliant and heartbreaking . . . Unforgettable." -- USA Today

"A tense and timely love story . . . Packed with brave questions about race and class." -- People

"Compelling." -- The Washington Post

"Epic . . . Transcendent . . . Triumphant." -- Elle

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 knows he didn't commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy's time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward--with hope and pain--into the future.


Author Notes

Tayari Jones was born on November 30, 1970 in Atlanta Georgia. She attended Spelman College, University of Iowa, and the University of Georgia. She later attended Arizonia State University to earn her MFA. She went on to teach creative writing at the University of Illinois and George Washington University.

Her first novel, Leaving Atlanta, was written in 2002 while she was a graduate student at Arizonia State University. It was about the Atlanta Child Murders of 1979-1981.Her other title's include: The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage. She has been awarded the Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction, the Lillian Smith Book Award, and the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Jones (Silver Sparrow) lays bare the devastating effects of wrongful imprisonment in this piercing tale of an unspooling marriage. Roy, an ambitious corporate executive, and Celestial, a talented artist and the daughter of a self-made millionaire, struggle to maintain their fledgling union when Roy is sentenced to 12 years in prison on a rape charge he is adamant is false. Before Roy's arrest, the narrative toggles between his and Celestial's perspectives; it takes an epistolary form during his imprisonment that affectingly depicts their heartbreaking descent into anger, confusion, and loneliness. When Roy is proven innocent and released seven years early, another narrator is introduced: Andre, Celestial's lifelong best friend who has become very close to her while Roy has been away. Jones maintains a brisk pace that injects real suspense into the principal characters' choices around fidelity, which are all fraught with guilt and suspicion, admirably refraining from tipping her hand toward one character's perspective. The dialogue-especially the letters between Roy and Celestial-are sometimes too heavily weighted by exposition, and the language slides toward melodrama. But the central conflict is masterfully executed: Jones uses her love triangle to explore simmering class tensions and reverberating racial injustice in the contemporary South, while also delivering a satisfying romantic drama. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Married for just over a year, Roy and Celestial are still navigating their new dynamic as husband and wife. Then their lives are forever altered when they travel to Roy's small Louisiana hometown for a visit, and Roy is falsely accused of a harrowing crime and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The strain on their relationship is intense during Roy's incarceration, especially once Celestial's career takes off while he struggles with loss and feelings of abandonment. Nearly halfway through Roy's sentence, his conviction is vacated. In the aftermath of his unexpected release, the couple must confront difficult questions about the choices they've made as well as the expectations of others. For Celestial, it means reconciling the relationship with her husband with that of a longtime friend turned lover. Roy, on the other hand, faces the complexities of a life he no longer recognizes. Jones (Silver Sparrow, 2011) crafts an affecting tale that explores marriage, family, regret, and other feelings made all the more resonant by her well-drawn characters and their intricate conflicts of heart and mind.--Strauss, Leah Copyright 2017 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Shoved onto the asphalt by police, lying "parallel like burial plots" next to her husband Roy in a motel parking lot, Celestial recalls her wedding proclamation: "What God has brought together, let no man tear asunder." But an American marriage--especially if a black man is involved-can easily be ruptured by institutionalized racism. Ambitious and charming, Roy did every-thing right, getting out of small-town Louisiana, earning a Morehouse College degree, marrying privileged city girl Celestial, and settling into Atlanta society. His upward mobility is violently halted during a visit home when he's unjustly convicted of rape. Cleaved from each other, Roy survives prison with the protection of his cell mate (whose identity is a shocking coincidence), while Celestial relies on her supportive parents and childhood best friend Andre. Eisa Davis is ideally cast as Celestial, moving easily between proud and bowed, determined and desperate. Sean Crisden unfortunately disappoints, voicing both Roy and Andre with limited distinction, too often making the characters sound interchangeable. Ironically, his characterization of minor characters-Roy's father, for example-prove considerably more convincing. VERDICT Oprah's endorsement moves Jones's (Silver Sparrow) fourth novel into the rarified stratosphere; libraries should prepare for considerable demand. ["Jones's writing is engagingly layered with letters between the main characters integrated through the narrative": LJ 9/15/17 starred review of the Algonquin hc.]-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, -Washington, DC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.