The Married Man
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The Married Man

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  613 ratings  ·  33 reviews
In Edmund White's most moving novel yet, an American living in Paris finds his life transformed by an unexpected love affair.

Austin Smith is pushing fifty, loveless and drifting, until one day he meets Julien, a much younger, married Frenchman. In the beginning, the lovers' only impediments are the comic clashes of culture, age, and temperament. Before long, however, the...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 11th 2001 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2000)
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The premise of The Married Man sounded Alan-Hollinghurst-ish enough to ring my bell: aging gay writer, Austin -- an American living in Paris -- falls in love with a charmingly-earnest younger man, Julien, who still seems caught up in his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Christine.

The ingredients of a pleasing yarn are all there: Edmund White is frank about sexuality and inquisitive about the oddities of Parisian society, and the off-kilter love story of Austin and Julien should be enough to glue the novel to...more
Sep 17, 2008 Charmless rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who need to understand how to love and care.
Recommended to Charmless by: just a random read.
Shelves: favorites
The looming tragedy that I felt the whole time that I was reading this book is the only reason why I'm not giving it a five-star rating. I was expecting this book to be a bit melodramatic because of the subject matter (AIDS and a lover dying) but it's really more of a realist's perfect tragic love story.

White is an exquisite writer but I was so overwhelmed with sadness by the time I finished this book that I feel as if I need to lash out at the story's tragedy by blindly removing a perfect star...more
This was a strange book. Edmund White doesn't bother trying to create likable characters, nor does he stray away from taboos or any depiction of gay men that might be condemned as stereotypical or kinky. I like that about him; he's never PC. The way these characters wandered around, travelling, while one was dying from AIDS I found oddly compelling. This is not a "fun" read, nor is it conventional by any means. It's bizarre and troubling, and I generally kept wanting to turn the page.
This book is not your typical love story (and not just because it's about two gay men), but that's what I liked about it. Most of those stories obsess on the courtship phase, or that honeymoon phase before the so-called "spark" dies. This book gets that all out of the way early on, and instead tells the story of a comfortable, somewhat co-dependent relationship that is as complicated and frustrating as it is romantic and sweet.

I'll try to stay spoiler free, but one of the men is dying of AIDS,...more
This book is emotionally unengaged and unengaging. It's all tell and no show. We are told that characters love each other, but see no evidence of that in their interactions. Every time a character appears we are given a couple of paragraphs to tell us how to react to them, what they are meant to be like, but seldom any examples or evidence. I like to be shown characters and then make my own decisions on what I think of them.

It is episodic without any real character development and a lot of brie...more
Apr 14, 2014 Len rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: paris
An often beautiful and also sad commentary on gay men in the early days of AIDS. Though one of our "tribe's" best-known authors, this is the first Edmund White book I've read, and I'm actually quite torn by it. His writing is fantastic, no question, and he can conjure Morocco, Paris, Providence or Key West so much that you could close your eyes and feel that you're there. The part that leaves me torn is the often superficial, childlike way in which he portrays gay men, and I don't know if it is...more
White's later novel is much more emotionally accessible than A Boy's Own Story. I was touched several times by his insights into the feelings of a gay man regarding love. I do wish White hadn't ended the book the way he did, though. I feel like he avoided the emotionality of Julien's death. The rest of the book was markedly more moving than Story, so it's a bit disappointing to see him revert to showing his protagonist's denial of the grief rather than the grief itself. All the same, it was a ve...more
Wendell Hennan
Much like life, the story starts out, every line filled with beautiful descriptions of scenes and emotions and steadily declines into the despair of two men infected with AIDS. Austin, an American in his fifties meets a much younger married man and their meeting evolves into a life long relationship, ending with Julien's death on their last travels in Morocco. Edmund White is a masterful writer, describing both surroundings and feelings and emotions with symphonic clarity. A beautiful albeit sad...more
The author's descriptions, especially of Paris, are beautifully written, but I just couldn't get into the characters, nor their tepid romance, nor the heterophobic generalizations (which I couldn't tell--are they supposed to be coming from the main character or the writer?).

"They [lovers] should stay loyal...not reject their former mates like heartless heterosexuals."
"Certain gay men fall for his little-boy act, but it makes straight women want to throw up."

I lasted about 200 pages, si...more
Our preeminent gay author delivers a heartbreaking account of life - and, ultimately, death - with AIDS for a group of modern-day expat friends splitting their time between Paris and the States. While at times White's treatment seems aloof, deferring to the supposed superiority of French culture and European manners, his approach is a calculated one, lulling the reading into a beautiful - the man has an absolute gift for description - and genteel world before unharnessing the fatal blow. White s...more
Michael Armijo
A tad depressing tragic tale of love...

I must grant Edmund White with a wonderful writing style. He got us to know know and like the key characters in this book, Julien & Austin. The storyline lacked stories behind the stories. It seemed a little too blanketed/general. There was something missing. I enjoyed it and did read it to the end, getting some worthwhile lines out of the writer. The character who was dying of AIDS made me feel a bit depressed. I haven't read a lot of books along these...more
Linda Dahl
This book was "beautifully written," in an old-fashioned way. Full of snobbery, slovenliness and mysteriously always having enough money to live well though seldom working, the main character Austen is also kind, humble and alive to the terrors of giving yourself to love.

That this book was a love affair from a gay male sensibility fascinated and yes, repelled me, female, straight, often, but it won me with its ribbony story of people caught among the roles they want, need and have to assume. Dyi...more
Ben Smith
Yawn. I lost interest in the first 100 pages or so, and nothing that happened after that was significant enough to change my mind. Alan Hollinghurst-esque in the worst possible way. Nicely written but nothing else worked for me. I just feel like I've seen this story before (older gay man seems to attract endless stream of young, attractive men - though this novel is somewhat autobiographical, so one has to wonder how much wish fulfilment is going on), and it bores me. 2 stars is probably a bit h...more
White has a nice prose style in this book - there's something delicate and graceful about it that I appreciated. I felt like the story tended to wind though, and was maybe longer than it needed to be. It started to lose my attention about halfway through. I found the setting interesting though, when AIDS was still the 'gay plague' and the effect that had on various American and European gay communities. It was a nice peek into that chunk of history.
4.5 stars really - .5 off because no-one is perfect! What a beautifully written book. I found his style just glorious to read. It was immensely sad but I didn't feel particularly emotionally manipulated though. I thought Austin was a superbly drawn character and felt that his goodness shot through the book at all levels. I was very sad to have finished it and will certainly read more of him.
Jul 06, 2012 Ceri added it
Well I didn't actually read it .... I've read Edmund White before & really enjoyed it but I just couldn't read this. Probably because I didn't start it properly I just kept dipping in & it looked a bit depressing .... all about dying of AIDS ..... then I'd just put myself off & couldn't start it, whereas if I'd just started it properly I would have got engrossed & enjoyed it. So sorry Edmund.
Story of an over-the hill gay man living in Paris during the '80's and early '90's. He is HIV positive, though asymptomatic. He falls in love with a man half his age, who contracts AIDS and dies.

Well-written story, some very good observations/descriptions, up in the air ending that's somehow appropriate, as his life continues even with his friends dying.
i enjoyed this novel because edmund white is such a beautiful writer and it bothered me at points because the class stuff seems so unconscious but upon reflection i may have misread it. if you want a well-written gay book, white's always a go-to guy.

if you want it, email me & i'll mail it to you.
Maybe the most honest depiction of a gay, HIV-positive couple I've seen. Despite the compelling topic, it managed to bore me. Edmund White's writing is lovely. I appreciated the expatriate American point of view, too. But less -- party chat, travelogue, dialogue with the mirror -- would have been more.
Wonderfully, sad insightful look at the beginning of AIDS crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was was interesting love story between two men one middle aged and one in this late 20s-early 30s and how having HIV and AIDS affects their lives as a couple. Very thought provoking and well written.
Beautiful writing, lots of atmosphere and insight into the characters. The time period for this novel was in the 90s (I think) when AIDS was on the scene, and AIDS comes more and more into the foreground as the novel proceeds. I liked this book and will seek out others by this author.
Sep 14, 2007 Larry rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: very few
Not one of whites shinning moments.Didnt really care about any of the charecters.If bad things were happening I felt like they deserved of those books that I never have to read again.
Adam Hodgins
I really like this book while I'm reading it but don't always feel motivated to pick it up.

I'm having a hard time pinning down when this is supposed to take place, early 90's maybe?
A well-written book that somehow manages to tell the story of an HIV-positive man caring for not one but two dying lovers(former and current)without being maudlin or austere.
White writes beautifully. Loved the unconventionality of the relationships (it gets an extra star for that) and the title's twist but it did drag at times
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The book gets me to think big ideas about life and love being out of my control. It's a beautiful book, like White's others.
Edmund White is a wonderful writer, but this one - not so much. Never really goes anywhere....
Just could not get into this one and found nothing redeeming in any of the characters
Looks like a wild homosexual affair, but in the end somebody is manipulated.
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Edmund White's novels include Fanny: A Fiction, A Boy's Own Story, The Farewell Symphony, and A Married Man. He is also the author of a biography of Jean Genet, a study of Marcel Proust, The Flâneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris, and, most recently, his memoir, My Lives. Having lived in Paris for many years, he is now a New Yorker and teaches at Princeton University. He was also a membe...more
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A Boy's Own Story The Beautiful Room is Empty The Flaneur Jack Holmes and His Friend The Farewell Symphony

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