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It's the fall of 1986, and Julian Wainwright, an aspiring writer, arrives at Graymont College in New England. Here he meets Carter Heinz, with whom he develops a strong but ambivalent friendship, and beautiful Mia Mendelsohn, with whom he falls in love. Spurred on by a family tragedy, Julian and Mia's love affair will carry them to graduation and beyond, taking them through several college towns, over the next fifteen years. 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.
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About the Author

Joshua Henkin is the author of the novel "Swimming Across the Hudson," which was selected by the "Los Angeles Times "as a notable book of the year; his short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in many journals and newspapers. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, Brooklyn College, and the 92nd Street Y in New York City. He lives in Brooklyn; visit him online at www.joshuahenkin.com.

Reviews

Julian Wainwright is the WASPy son of Yalie Richard Wainwright III and Constance Wainwright, a Wellesley graduate. He loves his parents and doesn't mind being rich, but he is ready to escape. So in 1986 he heads off to Graymont College, a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts, where he can pursue his writing and leave his heritage behind for awhile. During the course of the year, he meets the lovely Mia Mendelsohn while doing laundry. They are both smitten and begin a love affair that lasts 20 years. Of course, it isn't without its ups and downs. Mia loses her mother to breast cancer her senior year and hangs onto the life she knows by marrying Julian. They then head to Michigan, where she will attend graduate school and he will work on his novel. Best friend Carter Heinz figures prominently in Julian's life, and it's while visiting Carter in California that Julian learns a secret that threatens to tear his life apart. While not earthshakingly original, this novel takes a good look at love, friendship, and marriage from the Reagan years to the new century. Recommended for larger collections.-Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

In 1987, Manhattan-reared hothouse flower Julian Wainwright matriculates at the alternative Graymont College for the express purposes of attending Professor Stephen Chesterfield's exclusive fiction writing workshop. As Chesterfield dryly infuses his writing wisdom, Julian befriends the cocky, aloof, lesser-born Carter Heinz when they are the only two to whom Chesterfield gives the nod. Carter soon meets Pilar in the cafeteria; Julian meets Mia in the laundry room. Carter's simmering class resentment of Julian surfaces. Senior year finds the two couples living next door to one another and plotting their futures. Henkin (Swimming Across the Hudson) subsequently follows the lovers for the next 15 years through countless college towns, family dramas, failed literary projects and the dot-com boom. Many scenes are too long, and never get below the surface of the cast, particularly wannabe-litterateur Julian. But for a book called Matrimony, Henkin offers surprisingly little about Julian and Mia's marriage, so when big confrontations do arrive, they quickly slide into melodrama. By then, lines like "But I don't want to get my M.F.A. Can't you understand that? I've already been in enough writing workshops" will have cleared the classroom. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Charming. . . . Henkin keeps you reading with original characters, witty dialogue and a view that marriage, for all its flaws, is worth the trouble." --"People""Beguiling....[Henkin writes] effortless scenes that float between past and present....[He creates] an almost personal nostalgia for these characters." --Jennifer Egan, "The New York Times Book Review""Elicits a passionate investment in the fate of its characters - truly an up-all-night read." --"The Washington Post""Beautifully render[s] the give and take, back and forth of marriage over the long haul. --"The News and Observer" Prasie for Joshua Henkin's "Matrimony ""Charming. . . . Henkin keeps you reading with original characters, witty dialogue and a view that marriage, for all its flaws, is worth the trouble." -"People""Beguiling....[Henkin writes] effortless scenes that float between past and present....[He creates] an almost personal nostalgia for these characters." -Jennifer Egan, "The New York Times Book Review""Elicits a passionate investment in the fate of its characters -- truly an up-all-night read." -"The Washington Post""An intimate epic. . . . Henkin is a master of scenemaking. . . . [He has] a knack for isolating the fine, vivid detail." -"Chicago Tribune" "Henkin writes with a winningly anachronistic absence of showiness. . . . A lifelike, likable book populated by three-dimensional characters who make themselves very much at home on the page." -"The New York Times ""[Henkin's characters] come alive in a spookily familiar way. . . . [He] beautifully render[s] the give and take, back and forth of marriage over the long haul." -"The News and Observer" (Raleigh, NC) "In the tradition of John Cheever and Richard Yates, a novel about love, hope, delusion, and the intricate ways in which time's passage raises us up even as it grinds us down. It's a beautiful book." -Michael Cunningham "Henkin's story is engrossing, so nicely does he describe first love and the intensity of longtime friendship." -"Deseret News" (Salt Lake City) "Henkin has written a powerfully moving book about so many of the big things: romantic love, abiding friendship, commitment, betrayal, loss, hope, regret. "Matrimony" is a novel at once sprawling and economical -- an elegantexcavation of the human spirit." -Dani Shapiro ""Matrimony" gets it just right, combining well-written prose and colorful characters that are so relatable you feel as if you are a part of their world. . . . Throughout this entertaining page-turner, Henkin does an impressive job of accurately portraying the complexities of modern relationships." -"Ladies Home Journal""Henkin movingly explores marriage, friendship, and the many ways we love and hurt each other. . . . Poignant. . . . Readers who loved Wallace Stegner's "Crossing to Safety" will find echoes [in Matrimony]." -"Bookreporter""Audacious.... An enchanting book." -"The Jewish Daily Forward" "With vibrant intelligence, "Matrimony" looks at the mystery of how a couple stays together and the ways even the most privileged among us are subject to the disasters wrought by our incalculable natures. A luminous tale, eloquently told." -Joan Silber, author of "Ideas of Heaven""The rich rewards of dailiness, the complexity of ordinary human connection, the unexpected ways that love endures, and the frequently hilarious ironies of modern life are on full display in this warm-hearted, clear-eyed novel. Henkin's portrait of a marriage is a portrait of us all." -Stacey D'Erasmo, author of "Tea""Like in his first novel, "Swimming Across the Hudson, Matrimony" reveals a gentle writing style, a tangled web of human relationships, a sensitive exploration of family relationships and a poignant authenticity." -"The" "Jerusalem Post ""Henkin is able to explore in depth a surprisingly wide array of issues universal to the experiences of marriage. . . . It is a testament to "Matrimony'"s redemptive power thatat the end of the novel, despite all the difficulties the characters face, the reader might still want to get, or stay, married." -"Small Spiral Notebook " "Deliciously old-fashioned. . . . With no gimmicks, no tricks, Henkin gives us a cast of complex, flawed, utterly real characters, exploring their inner lives with an astonishing sureness of touch. Beautifully written and deeply felt, "Matrimony" is a miracle of intelligence and heart." -Brian Morton, author of "Starting Out in the Evening" "From the Hardcover edition." Praise for Joshua Henkin's "Matrimony" "In this classically composed second novel of a couple who meet and fall in love at their liberal arts college in the Berkshires, Henkin, much praised for "Swimming Across the Hudson" (1997), sensitively examines the 15 years of love and marriage that follow." -Carlin Romano, "The Philadelphia Inquirer ""[Henkin] is able to explore in depth a surprisingly wide array of issues universal to the experiences of marriage. . . . It is a testament to "Matrimony"'s redemptive power that at the end of the novel, despite all of the difficulties the characters face, the reader might still want to get, or stay, married." -Adam Goldwyn, "Small Spiral Notebook" "Radiates the kind of offbeat shoulder-shrugging charm that made Michael Chabon's "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" so memorable. . . . "[Matrimony]" gets to you and stays with you." -"Kirkus Reviews" "[Henkin] builds a deeply affecting portrait of a marriage, tracing its evolution over the course of 20 years. . . . In this heartfelt homage to the risks and rewards of marriage, Henkin never artificially amps up his material, instead allowing the quiet accumulation of his characters' shared experiences to create for his readers a world they will recognize and relate to." -"Booklist""""Takes a good look at love, friendship, and marriage from the Reagan years to the new century." -"Library Journal""In the tradition of John Cheever and Richard Yates, Joshua Henkin has written a devastating novel about love, hope, delusion, and the intricate ways in which time's passage raises us up even as it grinds us down. It's a beautiful book. Here's to its brilliant future." -MichaelCunningham "Joshua Henkin has written a powerfully moving book about so many of the big things: romantic love, abiding friendship, commitment, betrayal, loss, hope, regret. "Matrimony" is a novel at once sprawling and economical -- an elegant excavation of the human spirit." -Dani Shapiro "Joshua Henkin's "Matrimony" is a deliciously old-fashioned novel. With no gimmicks, no tricks, Henkin gives us a cast of complex, flawed, utterly real characters, exploring their inner lives with an astonishing sureness of touch. Beautifully written and deeply felt, "Matrimony" is a miracle of intelligence and heart." -Brian Morton"""The rich rewards of dailiness, the complexity of ordinary human connection, the unexpected ways that love endures, and the frequently hilarious ironies of modern life are on full display in this warm-hearted, clear-eyed novel. Henkin's portrait of a marriage is a portrait of us all." -Stacey D'Erasmo"With vibrant intelligence, "Matrimony" looks at the mystery of how a couple stays together and the ways even the most privileged among us are subject to the disasters wrought by our incalculable natures. A luminous tale, eloquently told." -Joan Silber "From the Hardcover edition."

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