"A library doesn't need windows. A library is a window." – Stewart Brand

Dec 2, 2010

Read Something! _The Story of a Marriage_ (Andrew Sean Greer)

The Story of a Marriage
195 pp.
Literary Fiction


"We think we know the ones we love," says Pearlie Cook. But when a stranger appears on her doorstep, Pearlie discovers that her husband has secrets she never could have guessed. Given an offer of freedom as yet unknown to her, for six months Pearlie struggles to understand who her husband really is, and what her own deepest desires might be.

Set in California in 1953 -- a world just out of one war and already engulfed in another, where the slightest hint of nonconformity is severely repressed, The Story of a Marriage is a novel about coming to know ourselves and the people we love, about the damage war does even to those who do not fight, and about the battles we fight to gain and keep our heart's desire.

Appeal characteristics

  • Plot: Love triangle
  • Characterization: Characters' histories are slowly revealed over the course of the whole book, gradually deepening our understanding of them as we learn new secrets
  • Plot/Characterization: Character-focused book; the point is the development of each major character and the relationships between them -- not much actually "happens", plotwise
  • Pacing: Fairly slow pacing
  • Frame: Meditative/introspective tone
  • Frame: First person narration
  • Frame: Some plot events and character backgrounds are integrated with real historical events of World War II and the early 1950s
  • Frame: The historical setting, while important, is not overemphasized; it is significant that the book is set in 1953 but more for atmospheric/thematic reasons than for the use of period detail (of which there is relatively little)

  • The Hours (Michael Cunningham)? Similar time setting (for one of the plots), focus on characters, literary writing... but honestly it has been several years since I read this and I do not have a solid idea as to why my brain is coming up with this as a suggestion

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