Marriage in fiction

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The Weight of Love by Hilary Fannin: ‘There were three of us in this marriage’

I’d not come across Hilary Fannin until The Weight of Love started popping up on my Twitter timeline. Her name will no doubt be more familiar to Irish readers thanks to her prize-winning column in the Irish Times. She’s also known as a playwright and memoirist but this is her first novel, a delicately nuanced …

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Good Day? by Vesna Main: When life mirrors fiction, or not

This is the second jacket I’ve fallen in love with this year, another which fits its book perfectly. The other was the gloriously pink cover for Aylet Gundar-Goshen’s Liar. Always a joy when publishers use an image which is both strikingly original and appropriate. Vesna Main’s Good Day? recounts a daily conversation between a Writer …

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Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen: If you like Elizabeth Strout or Ann Tyler…

Sometimes I cringe when I see the comparisons in publishers’ press releases but in Anna Quindlen’s case Scribner are spot on with Elizabeth Strout and Ann Tyler. She also shares with Strout a far smaller following here in the UK than she deserves, although I can happily put that in the past tense for Strout …

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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones: Love in the balance

I’d heard nothing about An American Marriage before it arrived, its cover adorned with an Oprah’s Book Club selection tag which always reminds me of Jonathan Franzen’s pompous refusal to have anything to do with Winfrey’s endorsement of The Corrections, considering himself to be part of the ‘high art literary tradition‘. Well, la di da. …

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Ties by Domenico Starnone (transl. Jhumpa Lahiri): Three sides of a marriage

I seem to have reviewed several books about marriage in the first few months of this year – from the comparatively happy Wait for Me, Jack, to the decidedly bleak First Love, to the seemingly inextricable entanglement of A Separation – each one very different from the other, as are relationships of course. Domenico Starnone’s …

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Wait for Me, Jack by Addison Jones: Marriage and how to survive it

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a thing about books and their jackets. Without the right jacket, readers can be disappointed – promised something that wasn’t delivered through no fault of the author – and writers can be let down, not reaching as many readers as they should. This particular jacket, …

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Conrad and Eleanor by Jane Rogers: Absence makes the heart grow fonder

This is the second novel I’ve read in a year in which traditional gender roles are reversed within a marriage – Andrew Miller’s The Crossing saw Tim decide to stay at home and look after their child while Maud continues her work in clinical research – and I’ve since read a third, Sarah Moss’ superb …

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