An American Marriage

An American Marriage

A Novel

Book - 2018 | First edition.
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"Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, [2018]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781616208776
Branch Call Number: FIC JONES
Characteristics: 308 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff


Roy and Celestial are a passionately happy couple when we meet them. However, their love is tested when Roy is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Can their marriage survive Roy’s 12 year prison sentence? A complex exploration of the personal consequences of racial injustice.

(On Michelle's nighstand)

A work of fiction depicting the impact on a couple after the husband is wrongfully convicted of rape.

From the critics

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Mar 11, 2019

Favorite book so far this year

Mar 10, 2019

Wow. Just wow. What masterpiece. The set-up. The characters. The social commentary. The brilliantly plotted story. What binds these characters - including the secrets and histories that are told in confidence to each. I could not put down this book. I was next to these characters...with them in rooms and cars and reading the letters between them. I was rooting for them, commiserating with them and watching and waiting to see what will transpire between them. I don't want to say anything that will spoil this trajectory. There is the overall story but there is the subtext, breathing and gaining life behind the larger plot points. This bittersweet story will stay with me for a long time.

Mar 03, 2019

Tayari Jones surely demonstrated why she is an award winning author. Injustice, betrayal and true love are caught in the path of a marriage. Life seems to be a dream for Roy and Celestial as newlyweds but then a horrific event occurs that crashes their lives. Best friend, Andre, and an un expected meeting between Roy and his biological father enters into the plot twist. Jones develops the characters as skillfully as she unrolls the plot.

Feb 14, 2019

A satisfying character-driven story of a young up and coming black couple in today's Atlanta.
Their new marriage is tragically interrupted when Roy's falsely accused of rape. After a long stay in jail awaiting trial, he's convicted, and sentenced to 12 years in the Louisiana state penitentiary. His father, Big Roy, tries to prepare him. So does his cellmate, Walter, who by coincidence (or not) treats him well and keeps him out of trouble. Once Roy's incarcerated, that section of the novel is in epistolary mode, with letters between him and his wife Celestial, and her few visits--it's many hours between Atlanta and the prison. She's working hard on her career of making high-class, well selling sock dolls, something he suggested, and is proud of--they all look like his baby pictures. A third voice comes into the picture, Andre, who has lived next door to Celestial all her life, who introduced her to Roy, and who was his best man. As the years of Roy's sentence tick slowly by, Andre and Celestial grow into a new relationship. Her Uncle Banks files appeals, one of which, after 5 years, finally frees Roy. He comes home days before Christmas, expecting to pick up where they left off. It doesn't work out quite that way. Later this month, this will be the first book discussed by a new book club being formed in my neighborhood. I'm looking forward to the discussion. So much of the book is relevant to the plight of over-incarcerated black males today; I'm hoping we can get a real discussion of that topic going.

Feb 06, 2019

Interesting story. The middle was drawn out a bit. Powerful ending.

Jan 08, 2019

I'm so confused by my conflicting emotions throughout this book. Some of which I felt were legitimate, while others felt contradictory. One thing for sure, this book is relevant to the plight of African American males. My heart broke for Roy and his innocent incarceration and then what he came home to. At the same time, I found many of the actions by all three of the main characters to be irredeemable. Including Roy. Hence, my confusing emotions. They turned again when I started choking up during the epilogue. I can't deny that this wasn't a fascinating story line with stellar writing. Emotionally, I didn't find it to be an easy read, but the thought provoking and relevant story kept me turning pages.

Jan 07, 2019

An American Marriage is a heartbreaking novel that tells the story of Roy and Celestial, a young couple just over a year into marriage when Roy is arrested an imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Sadly this work of fiction is entirely too real for many people, and depicts the damage that is done to those in the prison system. Beautifully written, you won't be able to shake this one for a while.

Dec 29, 2018

2018 Oprah Book Club Newlyweds split when husband wrongly convicted of a crime wife knows he didn't commit. Exonerated, 5 years later, he return to a new life and a new wife. Page turner.

Dec 29, 2018

On Barack Obama's Top Books of 2018

“Until Death Do Us Part” or… until jail sets us apart – that’s a focal point of this well written, discussion-stirring novel by Tayari Jones. Celestial and Roy are a married couple, just one year into their love-filled relationship, doing well financially, planning for a child – when something unexpected happens and overturns their lives, sending Roy to prison for 12 years. Now, Celestial is at the cross roads and it seems like no matter what she chooses there is no joyful solution for either her or Roy. The first half of the book just zoomed by me; it was easy flowing and intriguing. The second half did slow down a bit, but it was still very good. The book touches on multiple subject matters including: racism, injustice, love & friendship, obligations, search for happiness. A good book for a book club discussion – evokes various feelings and opinions. (Submitted by Mariya)

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Dec 06, 2018

wiseallison1 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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Dec 27, 2018

The vast generosity of women is a mysterious tunnel, and nobody knows where it leads.


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