A powerful, funny, richly observed tour de force by one of America’s most acclaimed young writers: a story of love and marriage, secrets and betrayals, that takes us from the backyards of America to the back alleys and villages of Bangladesh.
In The Newlyweds, we follow the story of Amina Mazid, who at age twenty-four moves from Bangladesh to Rochester, New York, for love. A hundred years ago, Amina would have been called a mail-order bride. But this is an arranged marriage for the twenty-first century: Amina is wooed by - and woos - George Stillman online.
For Amina, George offers a chance for a new life and a different kind of happiness than she might find back home. For George, Amina is a woman who doesn’t play games. But each of them is hiding something: someone from the past they thought they could leave behind. It is only when they put an ocean between them - and Amina returns to Bangladesh - that she and George find out if their secrets will tear them apart, or if they can build a future together.
The Newlyweds is a surprising, suspenseful story about the exhilarations - and real-life complications - of getting, and staying, married. It stretches across continents, generations, and plains of emotion. What has always set Nell Freudenberger apart is the sly, gimlet eye she turns on collisions of all kinds - sexual, cultural, familial. With The Newlyweds, she has found her perfect subject for that vision, and characters to match. She reveals Amina’s heart and mind, capturing both her new American reality and the home she cannot forget, with seamless authenticity, empathy, and grace. At once revelatory and affecting, The Newlyweds is a stunning achievement.
©2012 Nell Freudenberger (P)2012 Random House Audio
“Freudenberger draws women's complex lives as brilliantly as Austen or Wharton or Woolf, and, with The Newlyweds, has given a performance of beauty and grace.” (Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Story of a Marriage)
“A big, complicated portrait of marriage, culture, family, and love. Freudenberger never settles for an easy answer, and what she delivers is a story that feels absolutely true. Every minute I was away from this book I was longing to be back in the world she created.” (Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder)
“Exceptional... Here is an honest depiction of life as most people actually live it: Americans and Asians, Christians and Muslims, liberals and conservatives. Freudenberger writes with a cultural fluency that is remarkable and in a prose that is clean, intelligent, and very witty.” (David Bezmozgis, author of The Free World)
The Newlyweds is a truly thoughtful novel. Freudenberger hasn't written some simple "they lived happily every after" love story. Instead, she delves into the cultural differences inherit in a marriage between people with different nationalities. She's also not afraid to deal with some of the more complex/difficult issues that could arise in any marriage. What's interesting about this novel is the fact that she's chosen to do this through the lens of international internet dating.
Ironically, it is that very thoughtfulness which sometimes makes this a difficult novel to get through. In an effort to explain cultural differences and how these issues play out in the main character's mind and life, the author sometimes comes close to losing her audience.
The narration is good. Marno's interpretation of the various voices and their coinciding accents is pretty much perfect. However, since so much of the story is in the narrator's, rather than the characters', voice it can sometimes come across as a bit monotone.
Overall, I think this is a worthwhile listen. It's not exactly a light read, but still something you can listen to on a road-trip or while doing stuff around the house.
This book was deeply engaging. The concept of finding your mate through correspondence on the internet was of great interest to me. I was interested to see how the characters developed and how the two cultures would mesh. It pointed out, in interesting ways, how the expectations of Americans differ with people in many parts of the world. Having Amina choose the path she did and watching her struggles made for an interesting listen. The narrator did a very good job of distinguishing the characters.
Yes. The book describes the differences between the two cultures very well.
Easy to understand why it works and doesn't work.
Won't keep you up all night reading but I liked it.
The most interesting part for me was learning something of the culture of Bangaladesh. The reader was convincing as a person from that country speaking English.
The characters were, at the same time, dishonest and self-righteous. I kept waiting for them to change, but they got worse.
Not at all.
Yes, she did a good job switching from American to Bangladesh characters.
The husband, the father, the cousin....most of them!
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