The Newlyweds- by Nell Freudenberger- 337 pages
In The Newlyweds, we follow the story of Amina Mazid, who at age twenty-four moves from Bangladesh to Rochester, New York, for love. A hundred years ago, Amina would have been called a mail-order bride. But this is an arranged marriage for the twenty-first century: Amina is wooed by—and woos—George Stillman online.
For Amina, George offers a chance for a new life and a different kind of happiness than she might find back home. For George, Amina is a woman who doesn’t play games. But each of them is hiding something: someone from the past they thought they could leave behind. It is only when they put an ocean between them—and Amina returns to Bangladesh—that she and George find out if their secrets will tear them apart, or if they can build a future together.
The Newlyweds is a surprising, suspenseful story about the exhilarations—and real-life complications—of getting, and staying, married. It stretches across continents, generations, and plains of emotion. What has always set Nell Freudenberger apart is the sly, gimlet eye she turns on collisions of all kinds—sexual, cultural, familial. With The Newlyweds, she has found her perfect subject for that vision, and characters to match.
My Review: 3 stars
This book started out as a winner for me as I became engrossed in the unusual courtship of George and Amina and how they would manage their first “year and a day” as honeymooners. The hidden secrets, their cultural differences, their shyness in person vs. their candor in emails made them both likeable and interesting characters. However the second half of the book was a fail for me as it no longer fit the title of The Newlyweds and instead was a full blown Bangladeshi tale of Amina and her many aunties, uncles, cousins and cousin’s cousins. I would’ve liked the story from the first half to continue in Rochester and learn how the newlyweds would come together or apart with out the many, many characters that filled the pages during Amina’s trip back to Desh. My hard back edition had two birds on the cover which were symbolic in the book, but again, held more meaning to Amina and her life in Desh. I did like the author’s writing style and look forward to reading something else from her.
Quotes I liked:
- “ Once again she had the disorienting feeling that her past was still happening, unfolding in a parallel stream right along side her present.”
- “...how could you argue with someone who began to dissapear as soon as you opened your mouth??
- “...and instead she felt the loneliness bubbling up in her like water into a well. What was worse than going home to find no one you knew?
- Tags: Fiction, 2012, Book Club
Labels: 2012, Book Club, Fiction