Saturday, October 18, 2008

Matrimony by Joshua Henkin

Review and Giveaway

Matrimony by Joshua Henkin

Fiction, Paperback, 291 pgs. (2008)

Publisher: Pantheon Books

Author's site:
From the cover:

" Starting at the height of the Reagan era and ending in the new Millenium, Matrimony is a stunning novel of love and friendship, money and ambition, desire and tensions of faith. It is a richly detailed portrait of what it means to share a life with someone-to do it when you're young-and to try to do it afresh on the brink of middle age."

Matrimony's strengths are twofold. Exceptionally smooth prose makes it an effortless and enjoyable reading experience. And emotional honesty offers us a wholly believable and satifying story. We follow a young Julian and Mia through their college years and an early marriage, to career choices and changes, the loss of a parent, and lingering doubts about Julian's ability to become the writer he wants to be. Their closest friends, Carter and Pilar, share those times with them and life moves forward as they spend some years both studying and teaching in different college towns. We watch them mature, gaining new insights about each other as parents age, friends split up, illness threatens, and an old secret causes a deep wound.
The author is clearly perceptive about the intricacies of relationships and of matrimony. We may see this as the story of a young couple's marital course but it is more. For there are in fact several marriages here when we take into account both Julian and Mia's friends as well as their respective parents. While our main interest follows them, each couple's relationship is unique and working itself out in its own ways too and we are privy to all of it. This is a quiet but solid story, driven by well-developed, complex characters whose lives we are seriously interested in. It's about life, long love, and friendship, and it's one story you don't want to miss out on. Four and a half stars out of five. Highly recommended.

Joshua Henkin has generously offered a signed copy of Matrimony to be given to one of my readers. It will come directly from the author.

1)To enter, comment on some aspect of the story that interests you. Tell us why you want to read it. Or, tell us how long you've been married or give us some advice on what you think contributes to a good marriage.
2)For a second entry, blog about this giveaway and leave a link to it in your comment. If you don't have a blog, email 4 friends telling them about this giveaway copying me at sfuhringer(at) sympatico(dot) ca.

You must leave an email address if you're entering the giveaway and don't have a blog where I can contact you.

Entry is open worldwide until midnight, Wednesday October 29, 2008.

Winner to be announced on Thursday October 30, 2008.


  1. No need to enter me, my friend. I'm just dropping in to let you know I've posted about this at Win a Book.

  2. :-)

    Hey you started the read-a-thon?!

    thers is no update from you about it!!

    3 cheers! take care! happy reading!

  3. Contest is also posted on my Win A Book blog.

  4. please enter me. I have heard good things about this book.

  5. Ok I've only heard great things about this book and am so curious now. Thanks for the contest!

  6. I'd never heard of this book before reading your review, but it sounds fascinating - sort of a modern "Middlemarch" in looking at different marriages over the life of the couple.

    I've been married for 26 years and my advice for contentment in marriage is to be willing to overlook offenses and never say anything ugly that you'll have to apologize for later. Words hurt and leave behind lingering aftereffects long after they've been spoken.

    Please enter me in your drawing.

  7. I've seen this book around and it sounds very interesting!

    I've been married 12 years and by no means do we have it down yet! LOL! I'd say have fun together and have great communication. Those are both key!


  8. I've heard amazing things about this book too! Definitely on my TBR pile! ;) Thanks so much for the contest, and I hope you're having fun with the 24-hour Read-a-thon! =D

    ~Lucy D =)

  9. Oh - this book (and your review) sounds just wonderful!

    I think it could come in handy! I married my high-school sweetheart after dating him for 7 years! Yikes - that puts us at 15 years together, 8 actually married and living under the same roof!! Wow - I'd love to see what the author has as far as insights :)

    I know we have our ups and downs, but one thing we try to do is be open and honest with each other. Not doing so will build resentment and kill trust.

    I've added your giveaway to my blog on the sidebar (thanks for stopping by and letting me know about it!)

    Take care! ~ Wendi
    wbarker (at)

  10. I have heard/read rave reviews about this book. Please enter me for a chance to win :D Thanks

  11. Please enter me for this. I have been married almost 20 years and the secret to our marriage has been that we are best friends. He is the 1st person that I want to tell something to. Even after the death of our son two years ago...we are still best friends and lovers. We ground each other and bolster each other up.

  12. I would love to read this!
    I've barely been married for a year (annivery is in a month!) Like others have mentioned, yeah communication is important.. It's also important to be able to relax and be goofy and just have fun! Never go to bed mad either, or the next day will be ugly.

  13. I have heard so many interesting things about this book. The reviews have me intrigued about the relationships involved; a couple and their best friends and how the relationship changes over time. Fascinating stuff!

    RidgewayGirl (Librarything)

  14. I'd love to read this book because I like "relationship books," and because you and others have liked it. As for me I've been married for 15 years but my husband I have been together for 25 (?!) years, since I was a few months shy of 16. I have no idea what our secret is. Luck.

  15. I'd love to read this because I have heard so many wonderful things about this book and that its full of wonderful insight on marriage, and although I am divorced I hope to get remarried and have a long happy marriage :)

  16. still waiting on the library- only a few dozen ahead of me- would love to read this and just may donate so otehrs do not have to wait so long too

  17. What a coincidence!!! Someone sitting behind on the bus yesterday evening was talking about this book. I am always looking at people to see what they are reading. I also end up eavesdropping when I hear a conversation where books are the discussion.

    Thanks for having this book.

  18. I guess I'll enter twice since I forgot to leave my email. Would love to win this book. Thank you,

  19. Not sure if I am the best person to give marriage advice, seeing as how I am not married. But I think it is important for the couple to be partners and friends even more so than romantic involvement. That is why so many arranged marriages actually work. Love can evolve and create a solid foundation for marriage.


  20. I keep seeing this one. I might as well say I'm interested now. Please enter me.

  21. Sorry it took me a few days but I have this contest posted here:

    I would love to be entered too! It's a book I have been wanting to read. My advise for marraige comes from my parents who will soon celebrate their 42nd. I learned from them that a relationship is never 50/50. It is always at best 60/40 and you have to know when to be the one to giving more.

  22. wow! this book sounds like a very interesting one. i'm just a year past in a married life and wonder if this book can give wonderful insights in this type of relationship.

    toss my name in the hat if you're sending international.


  23. Marital advice? I've got 28 years in and I'd have to say the thing that has kept us together is just WANTING it to work... wanting to be married, to form a whole family, to grow old together, wanting to hold our friendship together, wanting grandchildren on our knee, basically wanting the same things from life.

    Please enter me in this contest through my Tasses email link. I have blogged about this contest on Random Wonder.

  24. I'd love to enter...

    I've been married four years, but split career paths (military and State Dept) mean we've never lived together for more than a few weeks at a time every few months. My advice- live together more than a few weeks at a time every few months! Seriously though- if you want it to work, and you work at it, then you really can be happy.


  25. Thanks for this great giveaway. I have been married for 38 years. Trust, enduring love and communication all work.

  26. I do need to get this book!

    Thanks for your e-mail about Acadia & me - I would like to enter to win a copy! If I understood your instructions correctly, I am now entered.

  27. Just commenting on the review...

    Sounds like an interesting read, watching the relationship grow and how everything works out.

  28. I really like your review!

    I want Acedia & Me, please! :)

    WordLily AT gmail

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.



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