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A Happy Marriageby Rafael Yglesias
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Yglesias (Fearless) delivers his first novel in 13 years, an autobiographical and devastatingly raw appraisal of a nearly 30-year marriage. As the novel opens in 1975, 21-year-old Enrique Sabas, a high school — dropout literary wunderkind, has just met Margaret Cohen, a vivacious, beautiful budding graphic designer who will become the love of his life. Enrique and Margaret's romantic and sexual misadventures during the first awkward weeks of their courtship are interspersed with scenes from the couple's three decades together before Margaret succumbs to cancer: raising children, losing a parent, the temptation of an easy affair. Margaret's physical decline and Enrique's acknowledgment of guilt, inadequacy and a selfish desire to postpone his loss are described in blunt, heart-wrenching detail, and Enrique's ongoing struggles to define the nature of masculinity, the significance of art and the value of marriage add a philosophical layer to the domestic snapshots. Although the couple's privileged lifestyle can get in the way of the reader-character bond, the texture of their marriage and the pain of their loss will be familiar to anyone who has shared a long-term relationship. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Rafael Yglesias has transformed the story of his life and that of his wife, Margaret Joskow, who died in 2004, into a profound deliberation on the nature of love, marriage and the process of dying." The New York Times
"Ultimately, what is so amazing about this beautifully written novel is that it shows, via a heartbreaking and moving narrative, that a marriage, and the people who form it, don't have to be perfect to be happy." Booklist
"This heartbreaking story is told from personal experience, adding to the deep and vivid depiction of events. Yglesias...provides a moving and emotional picture of how a successful marriage comes to be — and ends." Library Journal
"Maybe marriage is the oldest story in the world, but in Mr. Yglesias' tender, funny, rueful telling, the lifelong relationship is the story of life itself." The Wall Street Journal
"Beautiful....Yglesias is a superb and courageous writer....[A] riveting portrait of enduring love, with all its grand imperfections." Karen Karbo, Bookforum
A Happy Marriage is stunningly candid and revelatory book about what it means for two people to spend a lifetime together.
The author of Fearless delivers his first novel in 13 years, an autobiographical and devastatingly raw appraisal about what it means for two people to spend a lifetime together.
A stunningly candid and revelatory love story by an acclaimed novelist and screenwriter whose return to fiction after a long hiatus will be heralded by critics and readers.
In the 1970s Yglesias’s first novels, written while he was a teenager, were hailed by critics as the arrival of a young American genius. A Happy Marriage, his first novel in thirteen years, is a gorgeous and moving story about a thirty- year marriage, inspired by his own relationship with his wife, who died in 2004.
Told from the husband’s point of view, with revelatory and sometimes disarming candor, A Happy Marriage is the story of Enrique Sabas and his wife Margaret, alternating between the first three weeks of their acquaintance (a comic and romantic misadventure) and the bittersweet final weeks of Margaret’s life as she says goodbye to her family, friends, and children. Laced throughout with intimate recollections of moments of crises and joy from the middle years of their relationship, the novel charts the ebb and flow of marriage, illuminating the mysteries and magic of marital love.
Neither sentimental nor cynical, and written with an intense devotion to character and emotional suspense, A Happy Marriage reveals a partnership that brings maturity and great pleasure to the lives of two people. Bold, elegiac, and stunningly vivid, A Happy Marriage will break every reader’s heart—and perhaps infuse some marriages with greater love.
About the Author
Rafael Yglesias is an American novelist and screenwriter. He dropped out of high school upon publication of his first novel in 1972 at age 17. He is the author of nine novels, including Dr. Neruda's Cure for Evil and Fearless, which he adapted for the screen. He also wrote the screenplays for Death and the Maiden, Les Miserables, From Hell, and Dark Water. He has two grown sons and lives in New York's Greenwich Village.
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