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The Story of a Marriage: A Novel | [Andrew Sean Greer]

The Story of a Marriage: A Novel

It is 1953 and Pearlie, a dutiful young housewife, finds herself living in the Sunset District in San Francisco, caring not only for her husband's fragile health but also for her son, who is afflicted with polio. Then, one Saturday morning, a stranger appears on her doorstep and everything changes. All the certainties by which Pearlie has lived and tried to protect her family are thrown into doubt.
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Publisher's Summary

"We think we know the ones we love." So Pearlie Cook begins her indirect and devastating exploration of the mystery at the heart of every relationship: how we can ever truly know another person.

It is 1953 and Pearlie, a dutiful young housewife, finds herself living in the Sunset District in San Francisco, caring not only for her husband's fragile health but also for her son, who is afflicted with polio. Then, one Saturday morning, a stranger appears on her doorstep and everything changes. All the certainties by which Pearlie has lived and tried to protect her family are thrown into doubt. Does she know her husband at all? And what does the stranger want in return for his offer of a hundred thousand dollars? For six months in 1953 young Pearlie Cook struggles to understand the world around her, and most especially her husband, Holland.

Pearlie's story is a meditation not only on love but also on the effects of war, with one war recently over and another coming to a close. Set in a climate of fear and repression - political, sexual, and racial - The Story of a Marriage portrays three people trapped by the confines of their era, and the desperate measures they are prepared to take to escape it. Lyrical and surprising, The Story of a Marriage looks back at a period that we tend to misremember as one of innocence and simplicity.

©2008 Andrew Sean Greer; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio

What the Critics Say

"Andrew Sean Greer is a devastating new writer." (Michael Cunningham)
"[Greer] has an eerie maturity not often found in young novelists. His prose, incantatory but not overheated, idles along with a top-hatted, almost courtly elegance." (The San Francisco Chronicle)

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  •  
    Margaret MOHEGAN LAKE, NY, United States 10-03-08
    Margaret MOHEGAN LAKE, NY, United States 10-03-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    654
    4
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    Overall
    "disappointed as well"

    I too was disappointed by this book. Somehow it felt too wordy -- I almost felt like the story could have been told in a short story more effectively. I didn't understand the motivation behind the actions of various characters, and I could predict what was going to happen at the denouement. I gave the novel three stars for managing to grab my attention for at least a while. "The Confessions of Max Tivoli" is a much better read.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek Union, KY, United States 07-24-08
    Derek Union, KY, United States 07-24-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
    ratings
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    61
    22
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    "A Disappointment"

    After reading The Confessions of Max Tivoli, I could hardly wait to read the next book from this author. What a disappointment! It was so incredibly unbelievable and completely uncomfortable to read. The characters actions and reactions and the scenarios did not seem plausible or real. By the end of the book, I didn't really even care what happened to anyone!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CeeCee Palmdale, Ca, United States 05-13-08
    CeeCee Palmdale, Ca, United States 05-13-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    128
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    296
    34
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    3
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    Overall
    "Maybe it's me....."

    After reading the rave reviews I decided to listen to this book. I'm at a loss for the rave reviews. While listening, most times, I felt
    like I had walked in the middle of the characters conversation.
    The characters seemed to talk in code to each other and I was not privy to what that code was. I wanted to like this story,but sadly I did not.

    22 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shopper 08-30-08
    shopper 08-30-08 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
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    "Thoughtful and moving book"

    From the first line of this novel, I was hooked. The writing is gorgeous and almost flawless, and the story's unexpected twists will make you question your assumptions. The narration is especially effective---I listened to it twice. Can't recommend this one more highly. It's my favorite out of a couple of dozen audio books I've listened to since I started using this service.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
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