Updated: Oct 14, 2018
A beautifully written and thought-provoking story of the divergent paths of a smart and successful black couple.
Celestial and Roy are newly married and have a bright future ahead of them. He’s a successful sales executive and she is an up-and-coming artist. As they settle into the routine of their life together they are ripped apart by circumstances beyond their control. Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime Celestial knows he did not commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend and best man at their wedding. After five years, Roy’s sentence is suddenly overturned and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
“But home isn’t where you land; home is where you launch. You can’t pick your home anymore than you can choose your family. In poker, you get five cards. Three of them you can swap out, but two are yours to keep: family and native land.”
It’s a story we think have read about in the paper, another black man is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. But this story isn’t about that, this is about what happens to the family left behind. Its about a happy marriage sidetracked in its infancy. Its about a young successful couple with their whole future ahead of them and suddenly their lives are on divergent paths. And it’s also about so much more, it’s about loving parents, and steadfast in-laws and the various decisions married couples face. Most of all it’s about what it means to be in communion.
Some of the story is uniquely told through heartfelt and emotional gripping letters written between Roy and Celestial. It’s an beautifully written story of how a black man feels heartbreak. AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE is not about the anger of injustice, it’s about the hearthbreak for all that was lost. Roy reminds us that despite the fact that he was successful, ambitious, grounded and happily married, life-altering mistakes can be made. But amazingly, his temperament through it all was strong, noble and hopeful. It’s powerful, emotionally profound and thought-provoking read!
AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE is the fourth novel for Author Tayari Jones. Others include Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, and Silver Sparrow. Her writing is also appeared in Tin House, The Believer, and the New York Times, And she has received numerous prestigious awards for her writing.
“I am alone in a way that’s more than the fact I am the only living person within these walls. Up until now, I thought I knew what was and wasn’t possible. Maybe that’s what innocence is, having no way to protect the pain of the future. When something happens that eclipses the imaginable, it changes a person. It’s like the difference between a raw egg and a scrambled egg. It’s the same thing, but it’s not the same at all. That’s the best way I can put it. I’ll look in the mirror and I know it’s me, But I can’t quite recognize myself.”
Publisher Algonquin Books / Brilliance Audio
Published February 6, 2018