It's the rare book that moves me to tears these days, but this one did. This novel put me deep in the relationship of a couple, their friends, and their families, making me sympathize with each person I met and with their varying perspectives and reactions after the main character goes to jail for a crime he didn't commit. There's no easy route to the ending in this book, and no simple resolution for this couple who goes through so much together and apart. Tayari Jones admits in the acknowledgments, "I feared I would not be able to resolve the thorny conflicts that both bind and separate these characters." After I closed the cover, my mind kept turning over the way the plot resolved—and, mostly, the ways it didn't and couldn't. This is a thoughtful, rich, deeply layered story of an American marriage, American families, and our American society. I can't get over this book, and I don't want to.
Author Tayari Jones is coming to Huntsville on August 2, courtesy of the Huntsville Library Foundation. Find out more here. The Snail will be there with Jones's books, so join us! If you want your copy before then, let me know.— Lady
February 2018 Indie Next List
“Tayari Jones comes in fierce with An American Marriage. Delving into the lives of the newly married Roy and Celestial, this is a novel that pulls no punches from beginning to end. I won't ruin the surprise, but they're hit with a harrowing event that will define not only their relationship, but each of their lives, forever. Writing with an intensity and pace worthy of Donna Tartt, Jones yanks us into her characters' lives with a grip that never lets up. I cannot wait to put this in people's hands!”
— Angela Spring, Duende District, Washington, DC
Summer 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List
“An American Marriage is an exposition of the criminal justice system in our country in general and in Louisiana, where the incarceration rates are exceptionally high and disproportionately biased toward minorities. The marriage of Celestial and Roy is put to the test when he is falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned. Through letters, the couple tries to salvage their marriage and prove Roy’s innocence while facing obstacles both within their families and outside of them. This is an excellent book for book clubs.”
— Mamie Potter, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
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.