An American Marriage (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Roy and Celestial seem to have it all. They are madly in love, newly married, and both embarking on successful careers. An unforeseen circumstance derails their happiness when Roy is accused of a crime he did not commit and is sentenced to 12 years in prison. They both tell themselves that nothing will change, that all they have to do is ride out the time, and then they will pick up where they left off. However, life intervenes, and Celestial turns to Andre, a family friend, for comfort, and Roy begins to resent his wife’s successful career. When Roy’s conviction is overturned and he is released from prison early, he returns home to Atlanta and to Celestial. It is heartbreaking to witness what happens to this couple, through no fault of their own, when they can’t repair the damage that has been done to their marriage by distance, time, and injustice.

— Sharon

This is a compelling love story twined around elements of injustice and betrayal. Jones has crafted flawed and complex characters in a tragic and culturally significant situation – a black man accused, convicted, and incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. The ripple effects of this mass incarceration is not only devastating to the individual, but also to his family, friends, and extended community. The artistry of this tale lies in its authenticity and how Jones gives us a lens with which to see and the opportunity to care.

— Lori Horbas

February 2018 Indie Next List

“Tayari Jones comes in fierce with An American Marriage. Delving into the lives of the newly married Roy and Celestial, this is a novel that pulls no punches from beginning to end. I won't ruin the surprise, but they're hit with a harrowing event that will define not only their relationship, but each of their lives, forever. Writing with an intensity and pace worthy of Donna Tartt, Jones yanks us into her characters' lives with a grip that never lets up. I cannot wait to put this in people's hands!”
— Angela Spring, Duende District, Washington, DC





"Haunting . . . Beautifully written." --The New York Times Book Review

"A tense and timely love story . . . Packed with brave questions about race and class." --People

"Epic . . . Transcendent . . . Triumphant." --Elle

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy's time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward--with hope and pain--into the future.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781616208684
ISBN-10: 1616208686
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: February 5th, 2019
Pages: 336
Language: English