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Matrimony (2007)

by Joshua Henkin

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3345368,755 (3.42)50
"From the moment he was born, Julian Wainwright has lived a life of Waspy privilege. The son of a Yale-educated investment banker, he grew up in a huge apartment on Sutton Place, high above the East River, and attended a Manhattan private school. But more than anything, Julian wants to get out - out from under his parents' influence, off to Graymont College in western Massachusetts, where he hopes to become a writer." "When he arrives, in the fall of 1986, Julian meets Carter Heinz, a scholarship student from California with whom he develops a strong but ambivalent friendship. Carter's mother, desperate to save money for his college education, used to buy him reversible clothing, figuring she was getting two items for the price of one. Now, spending time with Julian, Carter seethes with resentment. He swears he will grow up to be wealthy - wealthier, even, than Julian himself." "Then, one day, flipping through the college facebook, Julian and Carter see a photo of Mia Mendelsohn. Mia from Montreal, they call her. Beautiful, Jewish, the daughter of a physics professor at McGill, Mia is - Julian and Carter agree - dreamy, urbane, stylish, refined." "But Julian gets to Mia first, meeting her by chance in the college laundry room. Soon they begin a love affair that - spurred on by family tragedy - will carry them to graduation and beyond, taking them through several college towns, spanning twenty years. But when Carter reappears, working for an Internet company in California, he throws everyone's life into turmoil: Julian's, Mia's, his own." "Starting at the height of the Reagan era and ending in the new millennium, Matrimony is about love and friendship, money and ambition, desire and tensions of faith. It asks what happens to a marriage when it is confronted by betrayal and the specter of mortality, What happens when people marry younger than they'd expected to? Can love survive the passing of time?"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
This was good, but I didn't love any of the characters. ( )
  baruthcook | Aug 26, 2020 |
This is a wonderful examination of all kinds of relationships--sibling, marital, friendship, parent/child. Henkin creates fully developed characters, writes cleanly and never becomes overly emotionally attached to his characters. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
This is a wonderful examination of all kinds of relationships--sibling, marital, friendship, parent/child. Henkin creates fully developed characters, writes cleanly and never becomes overly emotionally attached to his characters. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Not sure how to describe this book, or the writing. "Spare," perhaps. I think the author simply uses fewer words than other authors do; paragraphs are shorter and cover longer periods of time. Pages seem to leave impressions rather than memories, though you'd have no trouble recounting what just happened. Maybe it is a case of the author as a presence melting away, so it's as if the story just sprung into being on the page (though I know that's not the case - I'd like to read some of the pages Henkin threw out).

Anyway, a good book. And Graymont is based on Hampshire. ( )
  JennyArch | Apr 3, 2013 |
From The Book Wheel:

Oh, Joshua Henkin! You write such wonderful books! This was my second book by him (the first being The World Without You) and I loved them both! This one, Matrimony, follows a couple for the 20+ years of their lives after they first met in college. When I read The World Without You, the one word that kept coming to mind was familiar, and the same applies t to this book. Henkin has a way of writing that is 100% relatable (even if you haven’t been in the situation he is writing about). His characters are all so realistic that I can’t get enough of them.

The book starts out with the unlikely friendship between Julian (who I envisioned as Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother), an affluent New Englander, and Carter, a scholarship kid from California, who are enrolled in the same creative writing course. As Carter tries to break into the WASPy culture his friend hails from, Julian is trying to escape it. They both meet some great ladies, and from there the book mostly follows the lives of Julian and his wife, Mia. The story is propelled by the troubles and secrets that they face, and I wish I could give you more information without giving anything away!

One of my favorite parts was his description of the Make Way for Duckling’s in the Boston Public Gardens because I have fond memories of taking a picture while sitting on the smallest duck at various points throughout my life spanning 30 years. Another was a comment in passing about someone walking a bunny on a leash because I did that when I was a kid, too. Add in the fact that I can fold my tongue like a “cauliflower” and the way he describes the magic of owning a dog, and the book is, I repeat, familiar.

I read some of the other reviews about this book and one of the main complaints is that the story takes place over such a long period of time that it lacks character development. I completely disagree with this sentiment. Because Henkin‘s characters are so real, it is not necessary to focus on the mundane, day-to-day intricacies of life and marriage. There are too many books out there that spend time on what the characters ate and their fight over household chores. I love that Henkin doesn’t waste his talent writing these types of details and focuses on the parts that matter.

I love that Henkin‘s books remind me of real people and are not filled with any shocking twists and turns that would never happen in real life. If you do too, then this is a book for you! ( )
  thebookwheel | Mar 10, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
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"From the moment he was born, Julian Wainwright has lived a life of Waspy privilege. The son of a Yale-educated investment banker, he grew up in a huge apartment on Sutton Place, high above the East River, and attended a Manhattan private school. But more than anything, Julian wants to get out - out from under his parents' influence, off to Graymont College in western Massachusetts, where he hopes to become a writer." "When he arrives, in the fall of 1986, Julian meets Carter Heinz, a scholarship student from California with whom he develops a strong but ambivalent friendship. Carter's mother, desperate to save money for his college education, used to buy him reversible clothing, figuring she was getting two items for the price of one. Now, spending time with Julian, Carter seethes with resentment. He swears he will grow up to be wealthy - wealthier, even, than Julian himself." "Then, one day, flipping through the college facebook, Julian and Carter see a photo of Mia Mendelsohn. Mia from Montreal, they call her. Beautiful, Jewish, the daughter of a physics professor at McGill, Mia is - Julian and Carter agree - dreamy, urbane, stylish, refined." "But Julian gets to Mia first, meeting her by chance in the college laundry room. Soon they begin a love affair that - spurred on by family tragedy - will carry them to graduation and beyond, taking them through several college towns, spanning twenty years. But when Carter reappears, working for an Internet company in California, he throws everyone's life into turmoil: Julian's, Mia's, his own." "Starting at the height of the Reagan era and ending in the new millennium, Matrimony is about love and friendship, money and ambition, desire and tensions of faith. It asks what happens to a marriage when it is confronted by betrayal and the specter of mortality, What happens when people marry younger than they'd expected to? Can love survive the passing of time?"--BOOK JACKET.

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