Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Matrimony by Joshua Henkin

Title: Matrimony
Author: Joshua Henkin
ISBN: 9780375424359
Publisher:Pantheon Books, New York/2007
Pages: 291/Hardcover

Matrimony was sent to me by the author as I had commented on a blog post that I wished to read this book. One can see this book being read and reviewed in the book blogs. Joshua Henkin was kind enough to contact me and offer me a copy, which I accepted eagerly. (Can we refuse books?!)

The novel opens with Julian Wainwright, son of a Yale educated banker, starting his freshman year in Graymont College in Massachussets and meeting Carter Heinz, a scholarship student. Both come from different backgrounds. Soon they become good friends. However, Carter can be seen resenting Julian's family background. He desires to be a wealthy man. And Julian aspires to be a writer. There they meet Mia. And Julian and Mia fall for each other. They seem to be somehow made for each other. They are unpretencious, compatible and utterly likable. In the final year of their graduation, Mia's mother is diagnosed with breast cancer and that spurs them to get married before she dies, muh before they graduate.

Next we see Mia and Julian in Ann Arbor, Michigan where Mia is studyin to be a psychologist and Julian is seen taking English Composition classes. He is still working towards his novel and has published a story or two. For Mia's sake Julian is contented to live in Ann Arbor. Meanwhile, Carter has gotten rich and after a few years Julian is devasted to learn something, which almost breaks down his marriage with Mia.

This novel spans twenty years. Here we see the characters coming into their own. This novel deals with love, friendships, relationships between lovers and friends. It is also about burning ambition, about money and desire to be famous. Carter has this burning desire to cross the line from where he initially came. It is about Julian giving up a part of his life for Mia. It is about Mia who finally realises that she needs Julian, more than she can comprehend. For a couple who married young, they take their relationship to another dimension slowly, with love and honesty.

Julian and Mia have everything going for them. They are rich, well educated and well known, have the right connections. Despite this, they are so very realistic. Both have feet of clay. Maybe that bonds them to the reader, who instantly likes them.

This is a once-you-pick-it-up-you-have-to-finish-it kind of book. Here you can see the characters growing right while you are reading and you can get inside their mind and feel the way they do. The prose is simply great. I say, go pick it up!

Check out more reviews of Matrimony here:



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