A Happy Marriage is both intimate and expansive: It is the story of Enrique Sabas and his wife, Margaret, a novel that alternates between the romantic misadventures of the first weeks of their courtship and the final months of Margaret’s life as she says good-bye to her family, friends, children, and Enrique. Spanning 30 years, this achingly honest story is about what it means for two people to spend a lifetime together and what makes a happy marriage. Bold, elegiac, and emotionally suspenseful, Yglesias’s beautiful novel will break every reader’s heart while encouraging all of us with its clear-eyed evocation of the enduring value of marriage.Yglesias's career as a novelist began in 1970 when he wrote an autobiographical novel at sixteen, hailed by critics for its stunning and revelatory depiction of adolescence. A Happy Marriage, his first work of fiction in thirteen years, was inspired by his relationship with his wife, Margaret, who died in 2004.
The narrator is perfect for this book, and I'm a HUGE fan of Yglesias's narrative voice. His characters are likeable and human, flawed and petty and gorgeous, and I'm completely taken with the story, as heartbreaking as it is.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
hard to listen to at times, the ups and downs of a romance and real life marrriage and death of a spouse.
I did not want to "like" this book. You cannot begin to read a nonfiction book that is an account of a husband loosing his wife to cancer after a long and predominately happy marriage and expect to "like" it. But I wanted to appreciate the fact that the author shared something of her personal life and unfortunate death with total strangers and consider how I would feel if an unimaginable situation was suddenly not only imaginable but real. I hoped to get a sense of the cathartic experience writing the book must have been for the author.
But I didn't. For a memoir about the life and death of a beloved spouse, this book seemed focused not on the dying spouse, but the living one, the one who wrote the book. His wife's life seemed to be nothing more than another adjective used to help describe the author, his challenges, his difficulties, his life. Her relevance, her reason for even being mentioned in the book seemed to be solely to help the reader understand the author better.
I would not presume to say that the author did not love his wife. The book doesn't indicate that at all. I came away with no sense about how he felt about his wife, other than as an extension and reflection of him. But I have never lost a spouse and focusing on oneself instead of the lost partner may be a normal way most survivors of a long term relationship cope. They just don't write a book about it. I wish he would not have either.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful