Thursday, July 3, 2008


Joshua Henkin was gracious enough to offer me a copy of his novel Matrimony, and I'm so glad he did as I really enjoyed reading it. Matrimony centers around Julian Wainwright, a young man of privilege from New York City, who goes away to college and becomes friends with the people that will become the most integral in his life. We continue to follow Julian after college as he makes his way into the working world, as he struggles with what he wants to be doing and what he is doing, and the challenges he faces in his marriage. Matrimony is a quiet novel, and while it is about marriage I found it to really be about life, something we can all relate to.

Julian is a writer, and one of the things I most enjoyed about this book was reading about what it would really be like to be a writer. It seems to me a somewhat lonely profession, and challenging in that you have to keep putting yourself on the line and potentially face rejection repeatedly. It made me wonder if some of what Julian experienced was autobiographical for Henkin. I also enjoyed the setting of the book, which takes place in New York but also on several college campuses. It made me think back to my own college experiences which differ greatly from Julian's, who married his college girlfriend just as he was graduating. I did not have a serious boyfriend in college and did not marry until 6 years later, which for me was just the right amount of time to be on my own and figure myself and my life out. In the story, when Joshua and his wife Mia have trouble they seemed to deal with it in what I felt was a very immature way. It made me wonder how might marriages be different, depending on the age at which the parties married.

All in all, I found this to be a good read, a comfortable read, that made me think about things in my own life, but especially gave me insight into the life of a writer.

You can read Joshua Henkin's guest post about book groups here at Books on the Brain. I recommend it.

Matrimony will be released in paperback at the end of August and Joshua Henkin has kindly offered a signed copy to be given away here at that time. Do come back and sign up for the drawing in August!


Lisa said...

This one sounds good. Thanks for the review! Glad you had a good time on vacation.

Iliana said...

I've been hearing about this one for a while now and it's definitely on my radar!

Bookfool said...

I was married at 19 and I think the way people handle conflict has nothing to do with age but a lot to do with maturity and temperament. My husband was really laid-back and I was uptight when we married. We've switched roles, but . . . well, it works, somehow. The book sounds great. I've seen it somewhere, but I'm not sure where. On the shelves as a hardback, maybe? It sounds like a great "brain break" novel.

Nan said...

Very, very nicely written review, Tara. You told just enough to make me want to read it, but didn't give away anything. The 'pros' could learn a lot about writing reviews from reading yours! This book will go in next week's Friday Finds on my blog.

Tara said...

Lisa, it was and thanks!

Iliana, Yes, I had also noticed this popping up all over the place for a while- though to tell you the truth, I'd never seen it at the bookstore.

Bookfool, thank you for sharing your experience. I agree with your assessment - I was reading it on vacation and it was definitely easy to fall into.

Nan, thank you. As always, you flatter me with your kind words. I'm looking forward to the Friday Finds! I should start doing this too, only I'm afraid it could often go on and on.

melanie said...

Yep, he's a good guy. I'm doing Matrimony in the online bookclub in Sept. I'll be sending everyone here to enter your giveaway :)

Tara said...

Melanie, he is. That's great - send everyone over here, and I assume Joshua Henkin will participate in your discussion?

Korleoni said...

Thanks! Looking forward to read this book!