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The Newlyweds

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  8,471 ratings  ·  1,257 reviews
A powerful, funny, richly observed tour de force by one of America's most acclaimed young writers: a story of love and marriage, secrets and betrayals.

A powerful, funny, richly observed tour de force by one of America's most acclaimed young writers: a story of love and marriage, secrets and betrayals, that takes us from the backyards of America to the back alleys and villa
Hardcover, 337 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Knopf
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Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
At first I was captivated by this story ; a woman from Bangladesh marrying an American ,meeting him thru e-mail,wishing to go to America and her explanations and expectation of a new life in a new place. It seemed very interesting his journey to to meet her,her family and their subsequent life together. The portrait of Amina 's husband David emerges slowly and gracefully and we come to know him as a decent and thoughtful man. BUT alas and alack .. there is something BAD he did, (spoiler alert!) ...more
This is a pathetic book. Being from the subcontinent, I resent being represented by the shallow, cold-hearted, calculating bitch that's the so-called protagonist in this novel. Had she been cast as not a Deshi but another American, which truly would have been easy, she would be the vamp. If she was still the protagonist, the author would at least not have pretended that she could do no wrong. Instead we get this horrible person unselfconsciously bitching and moaning about everyone else but her. ...more
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm giving this one 4 stars, but I'm still debating over 3 stars. I'm conflicted in the way the novel itself seems conflicted. When I finished, I wasn't sure what point, if any, Freudenberger wanted to make. Of course, life itself is a series of complex situations in which one often doesn't know that is the best/right thing to do, and the novel captures that confusion very well. Marriage is tough enough when the partners have grown up in the same culture. Amina comes to Rochester from Bangladesh ...more
Mar 25, 2012 rated it liked it
When I pick up a book entitled The Newlyweds, I expect it to be…well, about newlyweds: in this case, Amina Mazid, who moves from Bangladesh to Rochester, New York to marry a man she meets online – George Stillman.

And, since the cultures are so vastly different, I expect something else: a “ring” of authenticity, similar to the stories that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or Jhumpa Lahiri explore so convincingly in their works. I expect a work that’s rich in character and brimming with the realities of a
I picked up this book because of a review I read somewhere that compared Freudenberger to Jhumpa Lahiri; I suppose with expectations that high, I should have expected to be let down, which I definitely was to the nth degree. This book started out with so much potential, but about a quarter of the way through, it became almost unbearable.

The author has a pleasant, almost soothing tone that I enjoyed, but her plot and characterizations are a bit of a mess. The secondary characters were actually fa
Kristen Unger
Jun 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club

The premise set me up to be disappointed because I presumed since both individuals had secret motives and unresolved feelings about prior romantic possibilities that I would get to hear both sides of the story. I didn't.

Instead, I got Amina calculating, Amina hesitating, Amina scheming, Amina presuming, Amina leveraging, Amina wavering, Amina straying, and Amina ultimately getting her way far more often than I felt she deserved to.

And George was so narrowly characterized through he
Sep 10, 2012 rated it liked it
3 stars - It was good.

Favorite Quote: It seemed incredible that it could be the same road, the same asphalt, that they had traveled so many times together. You thought that you were the permanent part of your own experience, the net that held it all together—until you discovered that there were many selves, dissolving into one another so quickly over time that the buildings and the trees and even the pavement turned out to have more substance than you did.

First Sentence: She hadn’t heard the mai
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Newlyweds
Nell Freudenberger

In a nutshell...

George and Amina meet through an online dating service.  George is a rather stiff American.  Amina comes from Bangladesh.  They meet.  They marry.  Confusion reigns.

My thoughts after reading...

I felt immersed in George and Amina's issues as I read this lovely book.  The book is about how they came together and their efforts to stay together when Amina discovers that George has kept something from her.  It is an insight into what it is like for so
Sep 29, 2012 rated it liked it
This story kind of sneaks up on you. It felt like a quiet and pleasant three-star read most of the way through, with occasional four star moments. Then I finally closed it and thought, you know, that was really better than I realized at the time. But ultimately I think I'll go with three stars because I don't want to oversell the experience of reading it.

Amina, a Bangladeshi 20-something woman, marries George, an American engineer living in Rochester whom she has met online. She moves to Rochest
Jun 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Nell Freudenberger has populated The Newlyweds with characters so real and alive it felt as if I were reading non-fiction. Amina has escaped the poverty and difficulties of her life in Bangladesh as a modern day "mail-order" bride. She is adjusting to her new life in Rochester, NY with her husband George whom she met on an international dating site. Amina struggles with differences in culture and climate and spends her time working towards the goals of bringing her parents to the U.S., a college ...more
Erika Nerdypants
I have to be honest, I was completely underwhelmed by this book. There was so much build-up around it, but for me the story just didn't deliver. First off, the title seemed misleading, as it wasn't so much the story of a marriage or a relationship, but Amina's immigration story. At times I felt like I was reading an Anne Tyler novel with the usual quirky characters, but unlike Tyler, this author didn't make me fall in love with her protagonists. George was one dimensional, a stolid, secretive ma ...more
After gushing on about so many really good novels I have read this year, it is almost a relief to come across one that does not quite bowl you over and that you can formulate some criticisms. Though this is not to say all is wrong with Nell Freudenberger's The Newlyweds or that the novel did not have potential in this story of Amina, a young Bangladeshi modern-day mail-order bride (aka international Internet "dating" site) bride coming to Rochester, NY to start a life in surburbia with George, a ...more
Karl Lagerfeld
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I most recently finished Nell Freudenberger's The Newlyweds. Another much-lauded recent hardcover. From Bangladesh, Amina and her doting, complicated parents pin their hopes for their future on the marriage she has arranged with George in Rochester, who she meets on an online dating site geared towards east Asians and their North American suitors. This is a sweet, quiet little story about two people moving across nations to be together and carrying with them the baggage, desires, and secrets of ...more

Let me just say right at the start that I read this less than impressive novel for a reading group. I have many highly anticipated novels on my TBR list and would much rather have been reading Michael Chabon (Telegraph Avenue), Zadie Smith (NW) or Susan Straight (Between Heaven and Here).

I have not read Ms Freudenberger's earlier novel, The Dissidents. I have been aware of her status as a hot young author. She did not measure up for me to the young authors who have blown me away in my reading th
Sarah Coleman
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Cultures clash gently but persistently in Freudenberger's second novel, in which American electrical engineer George marries Bangladeshi teacher Amina and brings her to live in Rochester, New York. Having conducted a mostly online romance that was largely practical on both sides, the two must now adjust their expectations to the reality in front of them. We experience the relationship through the eyes of Amina, who finds out a secret about George's romantic past even as she's grappling with her ...more
Emily Crowe
Mar 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Finished this book through a haze of nausea and other unpleasantries. This was an intensely quiet book, and sometimes I felt the author was so removed from her characters and story that she had no agenda whatsoever in writing it. Maybe after mulling it over for a few days I'll change my mind. But something tells me that if this were Freudenberger's first published work, she'd be slightly less the literary darling that she is today.
RoseMary Achey
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
A good story about family and making love work.
Ron Charles
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Eventually, Nell Freudenberger will have written so many wonderful books that we’ll stop gossiping about how success fell into the young woman’s lap at age 26.

The tale of her sudden fame is the stuff of writers’ fantasies — a nerdy version of Lana Turner being discovered on a soda fountain stool. In 2001, while working as an editorial assistant at the New Yorker, Freudenberger had her first story published in the magazine, along with an alluring photo of herself lounging on a purple blanket. Vog
Gregory Baird
"It was possible to change your own destiny, but you had to be vigilant and you could never look back."

In this novel, billed as an examination of the complexities of modern love and marriage, Amina Mazid, a Bangladeshi woman, moves to Rochester, NY to get married to George Stillman, the American businessman she met online. Adjusting to life in her new home (and country) acts as a catalyst for Amina to examine her life choices and the meaning of home.

The Newlyweds is a charming, breezy read that
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
In a very odd way, this book partly set in Bangladesh reminded me a lot of home. I wouldn't say it made me nostalgic, but it was interesting to think about family culture and other things that I found similar to my country. Some quotes that I could relate to:

"Amina knew she was a different person in Bangla than she was English; she noticed the change every time she switched languages on the phone. She was older in English, and also less fastidious; she was the parent to her parents. In Bangla, o
And I am back! Finally able to review a novel after months of wedding planning preparation, a fabulous day and honeymoon and now time to read and savor all the books I have stored up to get into--and this was my first one womp womp :(..I okay literally wanted to read this book because it was titled Newlyweds and I am now a proud one too but it was not at all what I expected..Okay so this is the story of a couple that met on the internet who get married but its more than that its also the story o ...more
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
This book details the complexities and expectations accompanying a mixed race marriage between Amina, from Bangladesh, and George, an American. Despite the rave reviews about this book, I was disappointed - I didn't find their relationship that realistic, and knowing what I know about Asian cultures and their affinity with arranged marriages, I found it very hard to believe that Amina's parents would have let her go off to the US with a man she knew nothing about that she had independently found ...more
Jan 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bookclub, fiction
Reading the praise on the back of the book, I almost feel like I must have missed something.

I won't comment on the plot here because I feel it's irrelevant given the underdeveloped main characters. I don't feel I made it past the acquaintance stage with any of them, and the dialogue in the book falls flat in every major scene. Several key plot points turn around character interactions, and in each case the dialogue didn't feel natural or believable to me. Not only that, I didn't know the charact
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time putting this wonderful novel down. It's a story of a Bengali woman flying to Rochester, New York, to marry an American man she met online, and the lengths she goes to throughout the novel to bring her parents to America to live with them.

It was the best combination there can be in novels--a gripping plot (with lots of unexpected events) and great characterization. Also, I was truly surprised by the ending (and, although I found it somewhat sad and disappointing, was the more th
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have experienced other cultures first hand. Likewise, some of my extended family have married spouses from other cultures and faiths.

In one way, this book examines the challenges of marrying someone from another culture (told from the viewpoint of the protagonists' experience growing up in Bangladesh). It examines the dynamic of remaining true to your roots and beliefs while balancing the adjustment to living in a new culture and pleasing your spouse.

Meanwhile, there are some secrets on both
Anita Shaw
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was a really good window into the contrasts between cultures. It managed to weave personal stories using the differing threads from cultural experiences. I was fascinated to discover that the American part of the story took place in Pittsford NY where I lived for 25 years. I too emigrated there like Amina did but i was with my husband and two children. I also went to MCC as she did, in my case I wanted to study the history of what was to be my new country. Amina's return to Bangladesh ...more
Sian Lile-Pastore
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is my kind of book. I LOVE the writing, such good stuff! although agree with another review on here that it loses something when Amina goes back to Bangladesh (that isn't a spoiler by the way). The plot is that a woman from Bangladesh gets in touch with a guy from America and marries him - pretty much in order to move to the US, and then it's all about how she adapts to America and how their marriage goes even though it's to all intents and purposes an arranged marriage. There's that kind o ...more
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it
I love books about immigrants in contemporary America and this book was no exception. However, I have read so many good ones that this book faced stiff competition and for that reason rates only 3 instead of 5 stars. A woman from Bangaladesh sets out to meet an American online to fulfill her family's dream to emigrate to America. She doesn't mention to her prospective suitor that he is getting a package deal, but keeps that information to herself until they have been married for some time, and t ...more
Alex Templeton
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This novel is about the first few years of the marriage of Amina, a native Bangladeshi, and George, a man from Rochester, NY. The couple met online when Amina, searching for love as well a means of advancement for herself and her family, posts a profile to an online dating site. They marry in America and George promises to have an Islamic wedding and to convert, which never quite happens. I found this to be a completely engrossing story, and was unsure, in the end, whether to find it hopeful or ...more
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story. There's a reason Freudenberger has won all sorts of awards; her characters and story are superb. I'm always a sucker for a southeast Asian immigrant story, and this one was fabulous. I learned much about Bangladesh, and sinking into the point of view of the main character, Amina, was a pleasure. She was so well written that the times when she doesn't appear to react to certain things happening was a reaction in itself. Her husband, George, is also wonderfully drawn. Instead o ...more
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Nell Freudenberger is the author of the novel The Dissident and the story collection Lucky Girls, winner of the PEN/Malamud Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; both books were New York Times Book Review Notables. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship from the New York Publi ...more
“It seemed incredible that it could be the same road, the same asphalt, that they had traveled so many times together. You thought that you were the permanent part of your own experience, the net that held it all together—until you discovered that there were many selves, dissolving into one another so quickly over time that the buildings and the trees and even the pavement turned out to have more substance than you did.” 6 likes
“Men she thought, could make a clean break with a woman, could leave in the way Parveen's husband had. Or could even be left, like George and determine to make a life another way. It was women who longed to retain ties and connections, to mix things up in complicated ways.” 2 likes
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