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State of the Union: A Marriage in Ten Parts

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  3,963 ratings  ·  535 reviews
A heartbreaking, funny, and honest look inside of a marriage falling apart and the lengths a couple would go to in order to fix it from the bestselling author of About a Boy and High Fidelity.

"Hornby is a writer who dares to be witty, intelligent, and emotionally generous all at once." - The New York Times Book Review

Tom and Louise meet in a pub before their couple's ther
...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Riverhead Books (first published March 7th 2019)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,963 ratings  ·  535 reviews


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Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019

I’m trying to understand why a marital Brexit might be a great opportunity for you.

A bit on the short side, but I will have whatever new project Nick Horny has to offer. I’ve been a long-time fan of his quirky and charming brand of humour and I don’t much care if this is just an under-developed film script that got streamlined into a novella. One of Hornby’s major draws is the way he writes dialogue, and in this case, dialogue is 9/10ths of the book.

The title is a subtle play on politics on t
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Victoria
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ten short chapters filled with a couple’s witty repartee as they sit in a bar across the street from their therapist’s office and you’ve got yourself a clever little book.
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Nick Horny does it again; he brings us in to the human heart and does not let go.
Hornby's latest novel is a voyeuristic look at a marriage in crisis. Each week Tom and Louise meet at a pub across from their marriage counselor. There they discuss what brought them to this point and what each needs to move forward. Utilizing only dialogue we are brought into the heart of this marriage, with all its cracks and imperfections. I loved it.
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Marianne
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
State of the Union is the eighth novel by award-winning British author and Bafta winner, Nick Hornby. Tom and Louise are having marital therapy. The state of their marriage is the result of a number of things including, but not limited to, “a spot of infidelity”. Tom is an unemployed music critic; Louise is a gerontologist; they meet at the pub across the road from the counsellor’s rooms before each session.

Over an ale (Tom) or a white wine (Louise), they talk about what they will or won’t be d
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Dree
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
★★1/2

A couple experiencing serious marital problems meet at a bar across from their marriage counsellor & discuss their problems prior to their sessions. This happens in 10 parts, hence the name.

State of Union is filled almost entirely with dialogue & minimal description, in fact it probably would've worked better as a play. Parts of this are really funny & observant, Hornby really has a knack with that English type humour - its very easy to picture this as a short film.

Unfortunately, the only o
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Doug
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Apparently, this was originally simply the scripts for the new Showtime series of ten 10-minute segments bearing the same title, that Hornby then (barely) novelized, since the book itself is 96% dialogue, with some very minimal 'stage directions' thrown in occasionally. That wouldn't be so terrible, since Hornby excels in creating such dialogues, but it just seems that something is missing. Having seen a few minutes of the show itself (I don't get Showtime, or I'd definitely watch it), it is cle ...more
Rebecca
Nick Hornby has been making quite a name for himself in film and television. Did you enjoy the movie versions of Wild, An Education and Brooklyn? He is responsible for the screenplays of all three of those. State of the Union has already been made into a TV series, too, and reads a lot like a script because it’s composed mostly of the dialogue between Tom and Louise, an estranged couple who each week meet up for a drink in the pub before their marriage counseling appointment. There’s very little ...more
Sundae
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nick Hornby is my soulmate. I love every word he's written. The only thing wrong with this is that it's too short!
It's also a new format -- not a novel, but a teleplay. So it's all dialogue with some stage direction. But nobody does middle class middle-aged angsty dialogue like Nick Hornby, so every word is perfect.
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Jillian Doherty
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I could have continued being a voyeur on Tom and Louise's pre-counseling pub visits, for at least another 2 months ;)

Hornby does it again - giving us smart, charismatic, and appealing writing. It's fun read, and ideal for anyone who's been in a long term relationship.

The character's snarky, yet connective banter makes you feel included - like you're in on the joke; with charm and stylized humor it's an ideal summer read!

Galley borrowed from the publisher.
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Molly
Jan 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
This is a dumb bad book and I say this as someone who’s read every Nick Hornby book—I’ve seen the movie adaptation for Juliet, Naked for goodness sake. This was so soulless and pointless and quiet honestly makes Hornby seem so old and out of touch. Yikes
Megha
Until recently, I always thought of State of the Union as the annual address delivered by the President of the United States of America. I recently came across this article which recommends the American psychologist, Dr Gottman's "State of the Union Meeting" concept. It says that when couples meet once a week for an hour, it drastically improves their relationship. Well, after reading the article, I am sold on it too. Communication IS the key to a healthy, functioning relationship. Do check th ...more
Janet | purrfectpages
This was a surprisingly brief book that read like a play. It examines the difficulties in a modern marriage with lots of self deprecating humor, as Hornby is known for. What held me back from loving it was how neurotic the characters were and how little we actually got to dive into their marriage, due to the book’s length. It felt like a missed opportunity for Hornby to tackle a common take with more attention and depth.
Jessica
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable quick read. Unique style and mostly dialogue. Read it in less than 2 hours.

I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Tuti
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
yess! it‘s smart, it‘s funny & it works :-) read it!
Matt
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I got so excited about some new Hornby material that I paid $11 for a short story!
At any rate, it's a good short story, and I spread out over three readings to make it last. I really miss having Nick Hornby novels to read, as there aren't many other contemporary writers I enjoy much. This is a story about being married a long time, and I have been, so it was interesting and drew me in right away. It goes into the nature of marriage and love and relationship problems with the style that is trade
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Iza Brekilien
Reviewed for Books and livres

It looks like the draft of a play : only dialogues, barely a few indications here or there, few characters. I'm a big fan of Nick Hornby, but here... the book is nice, not great, not up to what I expected. There were the grounds for a good story, yet it's under-developed, not as fun as his writings usually are, his characters not as deep and appealing. They could have been, with a lot more writing and pages.

It wouldn't be a long play, by the way, I read it in less th
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Karen Foster
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Nobody does dialogue like Nick Hornby....Warm, funny, petty, silly and real.
This is a short, simple little book that made me laugh out loud, but also a little sad (just like real life I guess). For 10 weeks, Tom and Louise meet for a little ‘Dutch courage’ each week at a pub, across the street from their marriage counseling sessions. We see glimpses of both the cracks in their relationship and the glue that holds them together. It’s pretty much all dialogue, but I really enjoyed these ten short
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Patricia
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
STATE OF THE UNION is a quirky but fun read. With 10 short chapter which are all about the conversations between a couple as they wait for appointments with their marriage counselor across the street from the pub. I really enjoyed reading this novelette, and I would have enjoyed 10 more chapters!
Callie
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Three and a half stars, only because it is so slight, which I understand is what he probably wanted to do, but he leaves you wanting more.

I am enjoying watching the dramatization of it with Chris ODowd. I almost think it works better that way.
Julie
Nick Hornby always manages to be witty even when the story is sad. (I especially felt this way about A Long Way Down). Parts of this were laugh-out-loud funny, and the dialogue was terrific, but there’s always a sense of unease because it’s about a couple whose marriage is teetering on the brink. A quick read, but he left me wanting to know more.
Jared Duran
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Hornby's State of the Union is pretty much the definition of a beach read. Walk down to the shore, set out your towel and umbrella, your beach chair, set yourself down, and crack open this book. You'll probably finish it up that same afternoon. The writing is funny, the conceit is clever, and the characters are easily relatable. You already know these people--you might BE one of these people. Quintessential Hornby and thoroughly enjoyable. ...more
Iva
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Iva by: Zorana
Shelves: own, blog-review
This is a great witty book that would be a genius text for a theater play, I really liked it and it confirmed Nick Hornby as one of my favorite authors. Longer review: https://sisterdelightbookcaffe.blogsp... ...more
Stefanie
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
“We have created a whole life together despite everything. A language, a family. Some kind of understanding. An intimate knowledge of everything to do with the other person. What would you call all that?”

A voyeuristic novella — one that feels as though you’re eavesdropping throughout.

The setting: The pub where Tom & Louise meet up at every week before their marriage counseling sessions that they agreed to attend together. Despite their desire to work on their marriage, it never seems either one
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Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies
Loved this extremely short book. It was basically a transcript. Minimal narration- just dialogue between Tom & Louise- a married couple who are seeking therapy (for a "spot of infidelity") and what we witness are their meetings before the session. It takes place at a pub and Hornby creatively writes enough conversation to give the reader the sense of what is going on week to week.

I love Nick Hornby, have read all his books and was so excited to find out he wrote this, even though it only took l
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Laurie Popovac
Jul 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
boring and the the husband and wife were so annoying and obnoxious. meh
Ricardo Motti
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a comeback! Really fun and creative book after a string of decent, readable, forgettable books by Mr. Hornby. I mean, I barely remember what 'Funny Girl' was about.

A fantastic structure, great dialogues, fun, emotional at times & super short — you'll get through it in little more than an hour. Highly recommended.
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Danielle
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quick and witty read
Vasu Malhotra
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Like every Hornby, it has its moments, but I think with the premise itself, he has boxed himself in a little bit. What still stands out is real characters and their very specific chemistry.
Nate Hawthorne
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I saw some of the episodes on tv, and like them. But then I also couldn't separate the characters in the book from the actors on tv. I think I would have read it completely differently if I had not seen the show. An interesting, if not completely British, look at marriage and staying together. Or not... ...more
Lorri Steinbacher
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a perfect train/waiting room/right before bed book. Hornby is his dry, quirky, funny self and the couple at the center of the union are a believable creation. If you can, catch the series on Sundance channel. Each chapter is an episode, only ten minutes long. It's good stuff.

Recommended for readers who like short, punchy dialogue, stories about mature relationships, and Hornby fans. This would be a great July or August book for book groups.
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Nick Hornby is the author of the novels A Long Way Down, Slam, How to Be Good, High Fidelity, and About a Boy, and the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, Shakespeare Wrote for Money, and The Polysyllabic Spree, as well as the editor of the short-story collection Speaking with the Angel. He is a recipient of the American Acade ...more

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