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The Resource A happy marriage : a novel, Rafael Yglesias

A happy marriage : a novel, Rafael Yglesias

Label
A happy marriage : a novel
Title
A happy marriage
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Rafael Yglesias
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Award
Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, 2009.
Review
  • Yglesias tells the touching story of the more than 30-year marriage of Enrique and Margaret by providing an intimate look at the first three weeks of their relationship and the last few agonizing weeks of Margaret’s life as she says goodbye to her family and friends before succumbing to cancer. Alternating between past and present, Yglesias offers a glimpse of two very different and independent people as they reveal themselves to each other, and in so doing, discover who they are as individuals as well as a couple. Yglesias doesn’t spare us the horrors of suffering through a terminal disease, but he balances pain with the joy and laughter of new love. We are shown the flaws in each of these people as well as the strengths they bring to their marriage. Ultimately, what is so amazing about this beautifully written novel is that it shows, via a heartbreaking and moving narrative, that a marriage, and the people who form it, don’t have to be perfect to be happy. -- Kubisz, Carolyn (Reviewed 05-01-2009) (Booklist, vol 105, number 17, p63)
  • Yglesias (Fearless ) delivers his first novel in 13 years, an autobiographical and devastatingly raw appraisal of a nearly 30-year marriage. As the novel opens in 1975, 21-year-old Enrique Sabas, a high school–dropout literary wunderkind, has just met Margaret Cohen, a vivacious, beautiful budding graphic designer who will become the love of his life. Enrique and Margaret’s romantic and sexual misadventures during the first awkward weeks of their courtship are interspersed with scenes from the couple’s three decades together before Margaret succumbs to cancer: raising children, losing a parent, the temptation of an easy affair. Margaret’s physical decline and Enrique’s acknowledgment of guilt, inadequacy and a selfish desire to postpone his loss are described in blunt, heart-wrenching detail, and Enrique’s ongoing struggles to define the nature of masculinity, the significance of art and the value of marriage add a philosophical layer to the domestic snapshots. Although the couple’s privileged lifestyle can get in the way of the reader-character bond, the texture of their marriage and the pain of their loss will be familiar to anyone who has shared a long-term relationship. (July) --Staff (Reviewed March 23, 2009) (Publishers Weekly, vol 256, issue 12, p42)
  • Enrique and Margaret Sabas have been married for 30 years. Now, Margaret is under hospice care in the final stages of cancer and asks Enrique to control access to her during her final days so that she can say good-bye to a select few on her own terms. Enrique does so, patiently waiting for his own turn. As he waits, he remembers their life together, from their first conversation forward. Yglesias alternates between past and present, contrasting the budding and then mature relationship to the sad reality of its end. This heartbreaking story is told from personal experience, adding to the deep and vivid depiction of events. Yglesias, the author of eight other novels (e.g., Fearless ) and several screenplays, provides a moving and emotional picture of how a successful marriage comes to be—and ends.—Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence --Joanna M. Burkhardt (Reviewed May 1, 2009) (Library Journal, vol 134, issue 8, p73)
  • Autobiographical work from novelist/screenwriter Yglesias (Dr. Neruda's Cure for Evil, 1996, etc.) chronicles a man's confrontation with the imminent death of his wife. The novel begins with the 1975 meeting of precocious young novelist Enrique Sabas and beautiful, artistic Margaret Cohen in his walk-up Greenwich Village apartment, then flashes forward to the novel's present, when she begs him to help her die rather than let her suffer anymore from terminal cancer. From there, odd-numbered chapters chronicle the couple's courtship and flawed marriage; even-numbered ones return to the present, as Enrique, now a successful screenwriter, searches for the strength to help his wife bid loved ones farewell and die with dignity. The flashbacks illuminate Enrique's psychology but give the narrative a disjointed quality. The back story devolves into confessional: Enrique blames himself for unhappiness in their marriage, breast-beating over his lack of sexual self-esteem due to occasional impotence—which makes an absurd combination with a libido depicted as so ravenous that it has strained his relationship with Margaret. Enrique's painful honesty about his pathological self-consciousness and solipsism might, in lighter doses, pass for self-deprecation, but when he tells us all about the technological wonder of his Treo smartphone before turning his attention to his dying wife, he is both unlikable and impossible to take seriously. Granted, he's under extreme emotional duress. The frequency with which his mind wanders over trite details unrelated to the dire matters at hand, however, make it exceedingly hard to buy into the tragic scenario the author has set up—that Enrique has only recently become aware that his wife is the love of his life. Near the end, past and present scenes alternate with greater rapidity, contrasting early episodes of romance and sex with the brutal details of Margaret's progress toward death. Yglesias knows how to pluck the heartstrings but flounders in the execution. A would-be tragedy that plays unsuccessfully on the inherent fascination with sex and death. (Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2009)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
319388
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1954-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Yglesias, Rafael
Dewey number
  • 813/.54
  • 810
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3575.G53
LC item number
H37 2009
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Marriage
  • Spouses
Target audience
adult
Label
A happy marriage : a novel, Rafael Yglesias
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First Scribner hardcover edition.
Extent
371 pages
Isbn
9781439102312
Isbn Type
(pbk.)
Lccn
2008051364
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 276712923
  • (OCoLC)276712923
Label
A happy marriage : a novel, Rafael Yglesias
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First Scribner hardcover edition.
Extent
371 pages
Isbn
9781439102312
Isbn Type
(pbk.)
Lccn
2008051364
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 276712923
  • (OCoLC)276712923

Library Locations

    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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