Starting at the height of the Reagan era and ending in the new millennium, Matrimony is a stunning novel of love and friendship, money and ambition, desire and tensions of faith. It is a richly detailed portrait of what it means to share a life with someone - to do it when you're young, and to try to do it afresh on the brink of middle age.
After being introduced to what initially seemed like interesting characters, I was disappointed by a plot that just plodded on through decades of poorly-paced and awkwardly drawn-out characters and artificially forced relationships. I felt no real connection to any of the characters, although I really "wanted" to be drawn in. The author's style of exposition became quite annoying, with supposedly important characters and "big" events being introduced awkwardly throughout the novel. Finally, I found the narrator's style very intrusive. Instead of reading, he constantly "acted" . . . his cadence was unnatural and showy, his reading overly dramatic and annoying. This is a novel about everyday people, not epic events. His inflections for various characters (Vermont, Japanese, southern) were distracting and unnecessary. Perhaps this book would have been more enjoyable to read than to listen to.
I listened to this as audio book as it was on my TBR shelf for so long that it was the only way to get to it. I loved some of Henkin's phrasing and use of metaphor, but overall, this story had more detail and length than was needed. Or maybe because so much of it was ordinary, it just felt like real life happening without dramatic plot twists. And, I must say there were a number of editorial misses, like the scent of lilacs in November and the characters noting that they heard voices from the street when inside a 17th floor luxury apartment. This errors made me trust the author and the story a little less.
Narrator okay. Differentiated characters with use of accent more than tone, which I found a little distracting.