What happens to a marriage when it is reduced to correspondence and brief supervised encounters? Told in letters, with vibrant narration, An American Marriage is the gut-wrenching story of Roy and Celestial, who have just begun building a life together when Roy is falsely convicted of a crime. Recommended By Lucinda G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
“Tayari Jones is blessed with vision to see through to the surprising and devastating truths at the heart of ordinary lives, strength to wrest those truths free, and a gift of language to lay it all out, compelling and clear. That has been true from her very first book, but with An American Marriage that vision, that strength, and that truth-telling voice have found a new level of artistry and power.” Michael Chabon, author of Moonglow
“I love An American Marriage and I’m so excited for this book to be in the world. Tayari’s novel is timely, thoughtful, and beautifully written. Reading it, I found myself angry as hell, laughing out loud, choking up and cheering. A gem of a book.” Jacqueline Woodson, author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming
"Powerful...Astonishing...Through the accumulation of small details, Jones paints a portrait of a nation still deeply divided along lines of race and class." J. Courtney Sullivan, The Boston Globe
“Tayari Jones is a bard of the modern South, a writer whose skill at weaving stories is matched only by her compassion for her characters. While An American Marriage confronts thorny issues around race and the criminal justice system it is, at heart, a love story. It’s also a meditation on the creation of art, the meaning of family and the conflict between duty and desire. Jones has crafted a complex, layered story that’s both intimate and broad, a literary page-turner that’s impossible to put down.” The Los Angeles Times
“Powerful...The story...is both sweeping and intimate — at once an unsparing exploration of what it means to be black in America and a remarkably lifelike portrait of a marriage.” The New Yorker
“Compelling...spun with tender patience by Jones, who cradles each of these characters in a story that pulls our sympathies in different directions. She never ignores their flaws, their perfectly human tendency toward self-justification, but she also captures their longing to be kind, to be just, to somehow behave well despite the contradictory desires of the heart.” Ron Charles, Washington Post
“Tayari Jones’s wise and compassionate new novel, An American Marriage...is a clear vision of the quiet devastation of a family. 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 Book Review
About the Author
Tayari Jones is the author of four novels, including Silver Sparrow, The Untelling, and Leaving Atlanta. Jones holds degrees from Spelman College, Arizona State University, and the University of Iowa. She serves on the MFA faculty at Rutgers and blogs on writing at www.tayarijones.com/blog. She lives in Brooklyn. An Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University, she is spending the 2017-18 academic year as the Shearing Fellow for Distinguished Writers at the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.