The Story of a Marriage

A Novel
Narrated by: S. Epatha Merkerson
Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
3.5 out of 5 stars (110 ratings)

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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, from best-selling author Andrew Sean Greer, 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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

A somewhat meandering plot with implausible characters who are not very convincing. Also rather pretentious; however, an interesting ending that attempts to summarize and find meaning of it all.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Too painful

The writing and narration are superb; but the story’s pain is more than I can bear.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An Interesting Life Story

Loved it. Compelling story, interesting characters and backgrounds, evocative setting, strong writing, well- narrated audio book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

included cadence are lovely, specific sentences

I'm ready to relisten in goodwill for a striking story telling again and against . Many faceted layers to this book, A great glimpse into the space adjustment of the times and erroneously knotted by names.