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Matrimony

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3.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,031 Ratings  ·  259 Reviews
From the moment he was born, Julian Wainwright has lived a life of Waspy privilege. The son of a Yale-educated investment banker, he grew up in a huge apartment on Sutton Place, high above the East River, and attended a tony Manhattan private school. Yet, more than anything, he wants to get out–out from under his parents’ influence, off to Graymont College, in western Mass ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Pantheon
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(showing 1-30 of 2,105)
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Tara D-K
Dec 03, 2007 Tara D-K rated it did not like it
It's so boring. I'm finally finished. It spans WAY too much time, so the characters never really seem fleshed out. You just don't care enough about them. You don't feel the love between Josh and Mia, or the friendship between Josh and Carter. So, where there's heartbreak and betrayal, you don't even care, feel bad for them, root for them, etc. You just plod along waiting for stuff to happen. I read three other books, 300-400 pages each in a weeks time, while in the middle of this book.
Jennifer
Aug 27, 2007 Jennifer rated it did not like it
I cannot figure out why I'm still reading this book. It's not very good. Sometimes I just stick with something just because I don't like the idea of not finishing, but I'm not sure why I care.
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Carter Heinz and Julian Wainwright meet as freshmen at Graymont College. They both meet girls that they end up marrying. Matrimony, by Joshua Henkin, follows the relationship between Julian and Mia. They date all through college, living together by their senior year. When Mia’s mother discovers she has breast cancer, Mia proposes that she and Julian get married so that her mother can attend the ceremony. After graduation, Julian and Mia move to Michigan where she pursues her Masters and he works ...more
Emily
Jul 01, 2009 Emily rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
After reading plenty of reviews saying that this was such a phenomenal read I was left trying to figure out if I had read the same book as everyone else. The story follows Julian Wainwright, who happens to be an aspiring author, through his college years and life after he has married Mia, his college sweetheart. The entire story reeked of auto-biography to me, which Henkin admits on his website he did write a few details that could be seen that way, but mainly I absolutely loathed the two main c ...more
Andi
Jun 15, 2015 Andi added it
Shelves: dnf
Couldn't finish it. Kept not caring and not picking it up.
Mandi
Jan 14, 2013 Mandi rated it did not like it
Shelves: post-peace-corps
The characters are so self-indulgent that I couldn't care less about them because they are far too wrapped up in themselves. Julian is by far the worst. There is nothing noble about any of their pursuits.

Even Mia's mother's breast cancer, which is a major catalyst in the plot, ultimately lacks depth. It feels like the author doesn't know anything beyond his own life and when he attempts to reach beyond that, it delivers as false. For example, it REALLY bothered me that he created what was suppo
...more
Diane
Apr 24, 2013 Diane rated it did not like it
Matrimony is a bad book, I have to say, cringingly so. I picked it up in a bookstore, saw a blurb on the back by Jennifer Egan calling it “beguiling,” and bought it. Now that I have read it, I interpret Egan’s reference to “effortless scenes” a little differently (as in, not much effort went into writing them), and can only surmise that she and Henkin are friends. I consider her blurb and all the gushing Amazon reviews you have to wade through to get to the truth about this book both a betrayal ...more
Carrie Runnals
Apr 07, 2009 Carrie Runnals rated it really liked it
Just posted my interview with Joshua Henkin http://wordstomouth.com/?p=442

Upon editing my chat with Josh, I realized this interview is as much for writers as it is readers. Josh, folds his life philosophies and his writing tips adeptly into MATRIMONY and our interview. He is an engaging conversationalist and a natural teacher, not to mention, of course, a gifted writer.

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner)
*Giveaway on my blog of this book going on until 9/29*

Hard for me to give this one a star rating. I'm going with a 4 as an approximate star rating but you should probably just read my review to determine if you should read it. Not my star rating.

When I received this book, I really wasn't sure that I'd like it. The title turned me off for some reason. I'm weird like that. A title could make me want to pick up a book or pass it by no matter if the book is crap or really great. Am I the only one
...more
Laurel-Rain
Apr 05, 2012 Laurel-Rain rated it really liked it
Slowly the story unfolds, bringing characters such as Waspy Julian Wainwright and scholarship student Carter Heinz to life, as they begin their journey as college students. We meet them in the eighties, during the Reagan era, and follow them into the twenty-first century.

College years in Northington, Massachusetts seem typical for the era. Pranks, partying, and finding girlfriends. The two young men, who could seem totally unlike one another, become fast friends.

Meeting Mia Mendelsohn, dubbed "M
...more
Lona
Oct 26, 2013 Lona rated it liked it
First of all, did I just get a bad copy or what happened? Why did I have to wade through constant typos as if the editor was high or some kind of only slightly evolved monkey? I loved the liberal use of punctuation, but my favorite was how Julian's name every so often changed to Julien. Is this some kind of special name where the spelling choice is optional?

Okay. I didn't hate this book, actually I picked it up at work and became instantly mesmerized by Julian's beginning college and his interac
...more
William Torgerson
Jul 27, 2011 William Torgerson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who want the literary story of a marriage
Recommended to William by: heard the author speak
Shelves: i-met-the-author
Did The PCC'ers Visit You On The Way to Marriage?

As Josh Henkin’s novel Matrimony kicks off, there is no sign of marriage, just college dorm hilarity when the PCC-ers—Peer Contraceptive Counselors—come for a visit to educate the new freshman dorm dwellers. Given the pacing, I forgot that this was a book that purported to be about marriage and I started to expect a story that took place in a small college over a couple of days, or at most, a semester. I could feel some of my own Love on the Big S
...more
Monique
Okay so sometimes to spice up my reading I find a book I liked an aspect of and go on Amazon to annoymously read their "Top Reviewers" and what hype they give a book based on their similarity to a book I have read..this week I chose The Embers and I was recommended that I try to read Matrimony and so I tried, and I didnt like it too much..The everyday, common life we all live is what I was interested in reading about, how a couple grows together and learns to love and trust but you feel cheated ...more
Kisha
May 20, 2009 Kisha rated it really liked it
Shelves: writers-writing
This book is a "quiet" reflection on a love story--over the course of twenty years. It was refreshing to read a book about what happens in the *after*: after one falls in love. The book is not filled with big, dramatic moments. It is the shifts in the day-to-day routines during and after life-course changes that give texture to the story. There is drama, as there always is in life, but the story feels incredibly true.

This book resides in two of my favorite genres-- love stories and stories abou
...more
Bonnie
May 07, 2009 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matrimony is the wonderful story of friendship, marriage, trust, betrayal and choices we make in life that effect our present and future. Matrimony follows the ever changing relationship between Julian and Mia from when they meet in college and are dating to their marriage and struggles into middle-age. Julian comes from a wealthy background, the only child growing up in New York City. He heads off to college to a small college in Massachusetts and his dream is to become a writer. He meets Carte ...more
Marian
Oct 29, 2013 Marian rated it liked it
A bit unfair to unleash my frustration on this particular book--and admittedly I'm the one responsible for selecting the novels I read--but I feel as if I have read various iterations of this novel so many times in the past few years! The struggles of human relationships, of change, of achieving goals. Obviously these are important things to write about (and if there are really only seven plots, then it's fruitless to fault a writer's lack of originality). But only so many times can a protagonis ...more
Judy Mann
Dec 05, 2015 Judy Mann rated it did not like it
This guy irritates the crap out of me . I've tried to read two of his books at this point and in BOTH books he keeps NOT telling you how rich he is.That's right. On page 1 the lead character tells you he is really really rich BUT that doesn't matter. "I mean really.. what's money?"Then two pages later he says "Oh did I mention it? I am very very very RICH but hell- that doesn't matter ." Then -you got it- 4 pages later he says "Oh maybe I should mention this -I am really really rich but what's m ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 30, 2013 Jenny (Reading Envy) marked it as abandoned
Another victim of my to-read list speed-dating project, I actually thought I liked this one after 30 pages, but after 100 (read in the dystopian setting of the local DMV), I just don't care enough to finish it up. This one suffers from trying to span too much time with not enough interesting detail or ideas.
Beth
Aug 23, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it
This is a four by more on the 3.5 side. It was a good and fast read. I even stayed up late two nights because I couldn't put it down. However when I finished I couldn't helping thinking that there were some things missing from the story and the characterizations but nothing I could put my finger on.
Karissa
Jun 16, 2010 Karissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
I really liked this book. Despite the fact that the plot is "ordinary", Henkin's fluid prose, detailed characterizations and honest portrayal of relationships make this book interesting from the get-go. Add on to it that it so accurately depicts the experience of a struggling/aspiring novelist, and I was sold. It's a quiet, wonderful gem of a book. I read it in about two sittings.
Eve
Mar 08, 2009 Eve rated it liked it
This book was well-written, but the author kept the characters at a distance from the reader, if that makes sense. I like to think I have a good vocabulary, but there were several words I had to look up!
Leslie Wilkins
Mar 15, 2009 Leslie Wilkins rated it really liked it
Sections take place in Ann Arbor AND New York City - what's not to like?!?
Morninglight Mama
Jan 26, 2016 Morninglight Mama rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Like the cover options for this book, the story is unassuming and quiet- a portrayal of a life that is familiar in its ups and downs. It was hitting so close to home for a while that when the major lows came, it hurt to read them. After a third of the way into the novel, Julian and Mia were my friends, and I could understand them, and then their pain was my pain. The quiet of this book is what appealed to me the most- realistic depictions of a relationship over many years don't have to be loud a ...more
Miranda
This book grew on me as it went along, but the fact that it had to is a huge problem: it's a miracle I didn't put it down and never pick it up again, and the only reason I slogged through the first hundred pages was that I have this obsessive need to finish all books that I start.

I wanted to love this book; if I were to design a work of literary fiction that had all the elements I like, it would look a lot like this. It's set partially at a small liberal arts school in Western Massachusetts, wh
...more
Joanne
Mar 25, 2010 Joanne rated it really liked it
Matrimony by Joshua Henkin brought us through the lives of a couple that met in college and through the years of their struggling marriage. Struggling, is the key word here because marriage can be hard at times and I believe it's how we deal with these struggles in everyday life that help make a marriage stronger. It's not just the good husband, good wife, successful jobs that make a marriage, but the little things that occur every day that matter, and Henkin did a great job of portraying that i ...more
Christina
Dec 13, 2008 Christina rated it really liked it
This book has been making its way through the blogosphere and rightfully so because Matrimony is wonderfully simple. Two college guys, Julian and Carter, become friends even though they’re complete opposites. Both of them go on to fall in love with Mia and Pilar, respectively. Mr. Henkin does not rely on Ebola outbreaks and bomb scares to keep the narrative going but rather the story flows on all by it’s own.

Seeing as how I’ve never been married, or dated, I think the honeymoon is over feeling a
...more
MissSusie
Nov 18, 2009 MissSusie rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This was a study in the human condition. A simple yet compelling book about the life off one couple from college to marriage to deaths and separation.
This wasn't my normal fare but I enjoyed it, the characters were fully fleshed out and kept your interest. At times they made you angry and other times made you sad.
My favorite person (I say person because this book made you feel like you were reading a story about long lost friends and how they have fared through life) was Mia because although I d
...more
Darlene
I was lucky enough to win a copy of Matrimony ages ago from My Friend Amy and received a signed copy from Joshua Henkin and I finally settled in to read it. Thanks to Joshua and Amy.


Matrimony for me started out slow but once I got more involved in the characters lives I was hooked and kept reading until I finished it. This novel is beautifully written and the story line flows from when the characters are young and in college to when they are adults facing real life problems with the story itself
...more
Stephanie
Dec 09, 2009 Stephanie rated it liked it
For some reason, based mainly on the cover art I think, I expected this to be a light-hearted novel, which it was not at all! I've read several reviews where people refer to this as a "quiet" book and I completely agree. If you're looking for action or crazy twists in plot line you'd definitely want to stay away from this one. I on the other hand enjoy books like this. I found the characters of Julian and Mia extremely relateable. I felt like I was reading about my friends. In fact, everything i ...more
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Joshua Henkin's first novel, SWIMMING ACROSS THE HUDSON, was a Los Angeles Times Notable Book, and his second novel, MATRIMONY, was a NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK and has recently been released in paperback. His short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous publications. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches in the MFA programs at Sarah Lawrence College and Brooklyn College
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