Matrimony by Joshua Henkin
Paperback release date: Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
“Matrimony” is the story of Julian, then of Julian and Carter, then of Julian and Mia. All three, along with a girl named Pilar are students at Graymont College. Julian is a child of privilege, his father is an investment banker and they live in a huge apartment in New York. He meets Carter in a creative writing class where, despite their differences, they bond over being the only not-terrible writers in the class. It isn’t long before Carter meets a girl named Pilar and Julian meets the girl over whom both he and Carter have been drooling – Mia. We follow Julian, Carter, Mia, and Pilar though senior year when they remain the only couples still together from freshman year and all the way through their 15 year class reunion.
“Matrimony” was a New York Times Notable book and there’s a reason for that – the writing is good. The story is primarily character-driven instead of plot-driven and the characters were rich and well written. That being said, the story did not immediately resonate with me. Mia and Julian’s senior year they seemed to make lot right decisions for wrong reasons and that bothered me, perhaps because my story was so different. When I met my husband we knew pretty quickly that we wanted to get married, Mia and Julian seemed to decide to marry on the spur of the moment and because of things totally unrelated to wanting to be together. For me that colored their early married life in a negative light. That being said, I LOVED the second half of the book, when both Mia and Julian seemed to figure out who they were and what it was they wanted.
Although I had a couple of issues with the plot, they were my own issues and not flaws of the book; if anything, they showed what strong, realistic characters Henkin wrote that I was able to get so annoyed with them! I think that a lot of you out there would really love this book, particularly anyone who married their college sweetheart, or anyone who thinks that they married too young but it turned out okay, anyone who wondered what it might have been like to marry your college sweetheart, or anyone who likes a good character-driven novel.
You can buy this book on Amazon in hardback, preorder this book on Amazon in paperback, or check back around this time next week for a chance to win an autographed copy of “Matrimony,” direct from Mr. Henkin himself!
Just to whet your appetite, here’s a picture of the pretty new paperback cover: