Joshua Henkin | Matrimony (Vintage Books, 291 pgs.)

book_matrimony.jpgThis book says, in no uncertain terms, there’s no such thing as a fairytale ending, only dealing with what life throws at us as best we can.

 

 

 

Matrimony is the tale of a relationship, from introduction to tragedy to marriage to misunderstanding to, finally, what serves as the proverbial happy ever after. Yet this book says, in no uncertain terms, there’s no such thing as a fairytale ending, only dealing with what life throws at us as best we can.

It’s the mid-’80s; Julian Wainwright arrives at New England’s Graymont College, aspiring to become a writer. Julian soon meets and befriends Carter Heinz, an equally talented and motivated writer but one who comes from the wrong side of tracks to Julian’s privileged right. The two form a fast friendship and, conveniently, each soon meets the girl whom he will marry. The very fact that no other girlfriends are dates are mentioned makes this part of the story highly improbable; however, for the sake of continuity, we’ll go along with it.

Toward the end of their college career, Julian weds Mia Mendelsohn. The two were already on that path; tragedy just speeds up their walk down the aisle. Carter, meanwhile, marries his college sweetheart and, after graduation, moves to California. Jordan and Mia, meanwhile, relocate to Ann Arbor, Mich., so that Mia can pursue a Masters’ degree in social work .

There are temptations, of course, as well as earthshaking revelations that change the course of the narrative. There are mistakes and overreactions; there are misunderstandings and forgiveness.

The writing here is fairly straightforward and a bit detached; I would have enjoyed a deeper connection with the characters, but manage to make do with what Henkin provides. I am, at least, hoping for the best with these characters, if only because I want desperately to believe in the institution of marriage, even for the make-believe. | Laura Hamlett

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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