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3.09  ·  Rating Details ·  1,039 Ratings  ·  262 Reviews
It's the fall of 1986, and Julian Wainwright, an aspiring writer, arrives at Graymont College in New England. Here he meets Carter Heinz, with whom he develops a strong but ambivalent friendship, and beautiful Mia Mendelsohn, with whom he falls in love. Spurred on by a family tragedy, Julian and Mia's love affair will carry them to graduation and beyond, taking them throug ...more
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Published August 26th 2008 by Vintage (first published October 2nd 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Tara D-K
Nov 05, 2007 Tara D-K rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 21, 2007 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 24, 2013 Diane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 30, 2009 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 07, 2015 Andi added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Couldn't finish it. Kept not caring and not picking it up.
Jan 14, 2013 Mandi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Carrie Runnals
Jan 29, 2009 Carrie Runnals rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just posted my interview with Joshua Henkin

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.

William Torgerson
Jul 27, 2011 William Torgerson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 26, 2013 Lona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 30, 2009 Laurel-Rain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
May 20, 2009 Kisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 27, 2013 Marian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jan 04, 2009 Jenny (Reading Envy) marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 22, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 13, 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.
Mar 08, 2009 Eve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Sections take place in Ann Arbor AND New York City - what's not to like?!?
Jonathan Karmel
I read this right after The Nix, by Nathan Hill, and in each book the main character is a writer who writes a novel, and surprise, the book itself basically is the novel. I know you’re supposed to write about what you know, but still I think you can only get so much mileage out of a novel about writing a novel.

That the main character is an author leading a rather mundane life is both the weakness and the strength of the book. As the main character of this book notes, the characters in novels do
May 01, 2009 Valorie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matrimony by Joshua Henkin is a novel about people, relationships, and life. The book follows the life of Julian Wainwright, his wife Mia, and a select few of their friends. We first meet the characters in college and follow along as they grow, mature, and face the new challenges of life that inevitably come their way. There’s betrayal, love, friendship, and just simply growing up. This book was different from what I normally read, though. It was not a nonfiction book about some historical event ...more
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
Jun 09, 2009 Colleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 28, 2008 Serena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joshua Henkin's Matrimony is more than just about how marriage and love can withstand the test of time and the struggles each spouse faces. Julian Wainwright's struggle as a writer to finish his novel and to juggle his marriage, life, a job, and his friends amidst his creative endeavors is central to this novel. In a way, Julian's dedication to his art is like a marriage and it is not surprising that some of his friends and even to an extent his wife, Mia, believe that he should settle down with ...more
Timothy Bazzett
Feb 27, 2012 Timothy Bazzett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
MATRIMONY is a book to savor slowly, to read a little and then stop and consider what you've read and to make inevitable connections of your own. Because Joshua Henkin has somehow managed to tap into the mainstream consciousness of what it was to be young and then suddenly not-so-young back in the 80s and 90s. And yet his characters are unique, memorable and all their own. Henkin has figured out how to combine Everyman and his own particular voices or characters, represented here by Julian Wainw ...more
Marriage is a hot topic. It is among the most enduring institutions and has stood for security and respectability for ages. Currently, however, it is complicated by divorce, pre-nups, and the inclusion of same-sex marriages. "Matrimony," by Joshua Henkin, is not particularly interested in any of these social or political tensions that surround the wedded state of being. His novel is simply a chronicle of a relationship.

Julian and Mia meet at a fictional New England college where Julian is studyi
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
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Giveaway! 1 18 Oct 07, 2008 05:03AM  
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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
More about Joshua Henkin...

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“I’m always saying a mother never loses her peach pit instinct. Even with a grown son, you have to stop yourself from sticking out your hand when your child finishes a piece of fruit.” 9 likes
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