Monday, August 18, 2008

Matrimony: a novel

Compelling. It's a little drawn out (the timeline for the book is over 15 years), but the characters are good, especially Mia. She and a handful of her fellow college students meet at the alternative-styled Graymount College in Northington, MA (By the end of the first chapter I was sure beyond a doubt that it's a fictional stand-in for Hampshire College near Northampton, MA. I went to another college in the Pioneer Valley, and there's way too many similarities for it to be merely coincidental.) The story follows two couples who meet in college as they grow up and forge their way through the next decade and a half of their lives.

p. 64: "She'd read that most college students met their spouses in college, but 'college students' included junior college students and state college kids from Oklahoma and Nebraska, and she understood that people like her, at schools like Graymount, didn't marry their college boyfriends. Doing so seemed fantastical and quaint, not all that different from marrying the boy next door or even from the dimly exotic world of dowries and arranged marriages..." I love Henkin's language--"fantastical and quaint"--isn't it beautiful?

p. 202: "...I'm always saying a mother never loses her peach pit instinct. Even with a grown son, you have to stop yourself from sticking out your hand when your child finishes a piece of fruit." Isn't this a little gem?

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