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State of the Union: A Marriage in Ten Parts

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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.

Tom and Louise meet in a pub before their couple's therapy appointment. Married for years, they thought they had a stable home life--until a recent incident pushed them to the brink.

Going to therapy seemed like the perfect solution. But over drinks before their appointment, they begin to wonder: what if marriage is like a computer? What if you take it apart to see what's in there, but then you're left with a million pieces?

Unfolding in the minutes before their weekly therapy sessions, the ten-chapter conversation that ensues is witty and moving, forcing them to look at their marriage--and, for the first time in a long time, at each other.

132 pages, Paperback

First published March 7, 2019

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About the author

Nick Hornby

96 books9,313 followers
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 Academy of Arts and Letters’ E. M. Forster Award and the winner of the 2003 Orange Word International Writers’ London Award. Among his many other honors and awards, four of his titles have been named New York Times Notable Books. A film written by Hornby, An Education – shown at the Sundance Film Festival to great acclaim – was the lead movie at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival and distributed by Sony that fall. That same September, the author published his latest novel, Juliet, Naked to wide acclaim. Hornby lives in North London.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 772 reviews
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,530 reviews979 followers
August 2, 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 the big scene (Brexit) reflected in the personal lives of Tom and Louise. Tom is quick witted, but unemployed and depressed. Louise is angry at his attitude, but she kind of, sort slept with somebody else. We get to meet them over ten short episodes in a bar, just before their ten scheduled appointments with their marriage counselor. Will there be a no-deal Brexit or will there be a second referendum?

We’ve aged differently. I think forty is like thirty, except you have to go to the gym more. You think forty-four is like being sixty-five, except your children are younger. It’s not over! Nothing is over! Where’s your fight? [...] ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’. It’s not even night, for Christ’s sake. It’s not even teatime. Fight for your life. Fight for your marriage. Fight for work. Fight to be less bloody miserable.

I have always loved the way Hornby doesn’t beat around the bush and knows how to get you interested, involved into the outcome of the emotional distress his heroes are going through. He is as quotable here as he was in his earlier books, attuned to the spirit of the times and to the hidden, twisted paths followed by the heart.

The world has changed. Nobody wants music writers anymore. There’s no paid work. Time has moved on. I’m like a coal miner, or a blacksmith. Is it embarrassing, living with an unemployed blacksmith?

Tom is a former music critic, now without work because everyone thinks they know better and they have a social media blog or whatever to prove it. He is not the first character to be involved in music (‘High Fidelity’, ‘About A Boy’ and ‘Juliet, Naked’ come to mind) which makes me even more interested to read Hornby’s non-fiction books of reviews.

But for now, let’s stay with Tom and Louise as they renegotiate their Brexit:

How are new starts possible? When you’ve been together for a long time, and you have kids, and you’ve spent years being irritated by the other person? But if they stop being irritating, they’re not them any more.

Tom is a dreamer, Louise is pragmatic. He is a glass-half-empty, she is a glass-half-full type of person. And they seem to have forgotten why they got together in the first place. We never witness their sessions with the therapist, always ending the chapter as they are about to ring the doorbell at her cabinet. But that makes the dialogues between Tom and Louise even funnier and more poignant as we have to read between their lines and their jokes in order to determine their minds.

“You know that perpetual-motion machines don’t exist, don’t you?” Louise says.
“No. I didn’t know that. [...] But maybe that’s what we expect marriage to be. A perpetual-motion machine that never runs out of energy. But we have kids, and a mortgage, your mother, my father, work, no work ... How can one not be ground down by it?”

I am not going to spoil the outcome. Please try it for yourselves. It took me less than a couple of hours to blow through it. And I look forward to doing it again, just for the pleasure of reading the dialogues again. I hope it will get turned into a movie.
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,544 reviews12.9k followers
March 3, 2021
One of the things I used to love about Nick Hornby’s writing was the dialogue, which often made me laugh - there’s some great stuff in High Fidelity and About a Boy. So, even though I’m fairly convinced at this point (thanks to last year’s Just Like You) that Hornby’s no longer for me, I thought I’d give State of the Union a shot as it seemed light and possibly even fun. It’s not very fun, or funny, unfortunately - but it is light!

Tom and Louise are in marriage counselling after Louise cheated on Tom. Over ten chapters (a chapter a week) set in the pub across the street from their counsellor’s office right before their session, we see how they slowly overcome this and begin to address the problems of their relationship.

The characters’ voices sound convincing - which is just as well given that this is almost all dialogue; it’s like a play in that regard - and occasional parts of it are sorta interesting. Like when Tom delves into what’s wrong with his life or when they encounter a couple they know and try not to let on that they’re in counselling.

Mostly though the conversations aren’t funny or really about anything substantial or compelling so the book is easy to put down. Also Tom doesn’t seem all that bothered by the affair and Louise isn’t pursuing it either and seems mildly ashamed - it’s not much ado about almost nothing, particularly given the resolution. If they don’t care, why should we? And I didn’t.

Ultimately, despite it seeming like a realistic marriage and the skilful way Hornby crafts character through dialogue alone, it’s an unimpressive story given that nowt much happens - State of the Union: A Marriage in Ten Parts is a very forgettable novella/play.
Profile Image for Victoria.
412 reviews326 followers
April 24, 2021
Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need is two hearts and a diamond. By the end, you wish you had a club and a spade. (As seen on Pinterest)

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.
Profile Image for Alexandra .
888 reviews283 followers
June 21, 2020
Mit dieser sehr dialoglastigen Geschichte, die schon fast ein Theaterstück darstellt, habe ich zwar wieder einmal etwas völlig anderes bekommen, als ich bei der Bestellung vermutet hätte, aber diesmal hat die unerwartete alternative Ausführung sogar mehr Charme als meine ursprünglichen Vorstellungen. Das Paartherapie-Drama hat mir sehr gut gefallen, wenngleich ich, so wie immer, Probleme mit dem Ende eines jeden Buchs von Nick Hornby habe, da der Autor ein gar so schlechter Finisher ist– wenn ich ihn nicht sogar für einen der schlechtesten im Literaturbetrieb halte.

Tom und Louise machen also Paartherapie und das Innovative dabei ist, dass der Autor nicht in den Sitzungen Mäuschen spielt, und diese beschreibt – so wie ich erwartet hätte – sondern nur immer das thematisiert wird, was die beiden Ehepartner vor der Therapie in einer Bar gegenüber besprechen, in der sie sich immer ungefähr eine halbe Stunde – beziehungsweise eigentlich einen Drink lang – davor treffen. Das ist insofern auf mehreren Ebenen charmant, da auch schon Reaktionen auf die letzte Sitzung in die Handlung eingeflochten werden, die beiden auch vor dem Leser ein Mindestmaß an Vertraulichkeit genießen und nur das breitgewalzt wird, was sie voreinander ansprechen, beziehungsweise bearbeiten und weiterentwickeln möchten. Was in der Sitzung war, bleibt in der Sitzung, es sei denn, es wird erörtert.

Damit bekommt die Leserschaft nicht das direkte Drama mit – inklusive der direkten Verletzungen und der Verletzlichkeiten, sondern eine zeitversetzte Reflexion darauf: teilweise Aktionen und Reaktionen, wenn sich die Gemüter schon ein bisschen abgekühlt haben und sich sogar vielleicht beim einen oder anderen etwas selbständig weiterentwickelt hat, manchmal ein völlig belangloser Nebenkriegsschauplatz, auf den ein schwelender Konflikt ziemlich grotesk und wundervoll witzig übertragen wird, aber auch oft ein noch intensiveres Drama und ein eskalierender Streit, weil das Problem der letzten Woche nachträglich noch in der Seele gebrodelt hat und in der einsamen Betrachtung noch mehr hochgekocht ist.

Im Gegensatz zur mangelnden Sorgfalt beim Finish kann kaum jemand eine Geschichte so gut starten wie Hornby. Die Leserschaft wird gleich in die Szene vor der ersten Sitzung geworfen und auf sehr humorvolle Weise mit dem Vorgeplänkel, beziehungsweise mit der Ausgangsproblemstellung konfrontiert: Sie hat ihn betrogen und er will eigentlich keine Therapie machen. Die Dialoge sind trotz des traurigen Themas für einen Außenstehenden extrem witzig konzipiert. Viele, die länger verheiratet sind, kennen bei einiger Selbstreflexion manche Szenen und das Palaver aus eigener Erfahrung nur zu gut. So à la Jedermann und -frau würden es witzig finden, es sei denn, sie sind mittendrin und betroffen. Als Louise und Tom sich am Ende der ersten Szene von der Bar gegenüber dann zum Therapietermin aufmachen und sie klingelt, gibt er Fersengeld und läuft davon – was für eine Eröffnung!

Der männliche Protagonist Tom ist übrigens ganz tiefgründig und aus männlicher Sicht vielleicht ein bisschen respektlos als Mehlwurm konzipiert. So ein passiv-aggressiver Typ, der sich sehr gerne wimmernd und lamentierend in der Opferrolle gegenüber seiner beruflich erfolgreichen Frau eingerichtet hat, sich darin suhlt, zur Dramaqueen mutiert und aus der unterlegenen Position ganz schöne Tiefschläge verteilt. Ein bisschen erinnert er mich an Rob aus High fidelity, aber Tom ist etwas lernfähiger als Rob. Auch Louise ist gut entgegen dem typischen weiblichen Rollenklischee gezeichnet: sehr pragmatisch, so schonungslos ehrlich, dass ihr manchmal nicht auffällt, dass sie auch ganz schön respektlos und verletzend ist, eine Macherin, die Probleme erkennt und dann auf ihre Weise manchmal viel zu schnell mit schlechten Aktionen und Lösungen reagiert, anstatt darüber zu reden.

Bei all den witzigen Dialogen und auf Nebenschauplätze verlegten Gefechten kommt so nach und nach sehr realistisch und konsistent beschrieben etwas Schwung in die Beziehung. Das Paar analysiert den Grund des Betrugs, das Sexproblem und einige andere Baustellen ebenso.

Tja, das Finish ist eben schon, wie gesagt, sehr oft wie bei Hornby abrupt und nicht wirklich in irgendeine Richtung interpretierbar – er lässt quasi die Tastatur fallen. Sitzung 10 fällt aus, weil sich die beiden in der Bar besaufen, und die Therapie absagen. Dabei ist noch viel zu wenig aufgearbeitet und weiterentwickelt, als dass die Ehe meiner Meinung nach weiter funktionieren könnte. Sie kommen überein, dass sie in einer permanenten Ehekrise stecken und sich nicht jahrelang zur Therapie begeben wollen. Da hilft eine zarte Hoffnung und ein „Ich liebe Dich“ von Tom im vorletzten Satz, das Louise als nicht ernstgemeint interpretiert, auch nichts. Versteht mich nicht falsch, Eheprobleme, die sich zur Never-Ending-Story auswachsen, auf siebenhundert Seiten auszuwalzen, ist ebenso weder spannend noch zielführend, aber diese Geschichte ist zu kurz und die beiden sind so weit entfernt von austherapiert oder einem konstruktiven Lösungsansatz, dass ich mir ernsthaft Sorgen mache. Das wird nix!

Fazit: Szenen einer Ehe pointiert und sehr amüsant präsentiert, die Figuren mit ihren Problemen sehr liebevoll und tief konzipiert, das macht Spaß und ist auch lehrreich für alle Paarbeziehungen, die schon ein paar Jahre auf dem Buckel haben. Leider verpufft sowohl die Entwicklung der Ehe als auch das Finale ins komplette Nirvana. 20 Sitzungen wären da mindestens notwendig gewesen – sag nicht nur ich, sondern auch der Verband der Psychotherapeuten 😉 .
Profile Image for MaryBeth's Bookshelf.
391 reviews91 followers
May 13, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
3,677 reviews2,666 followers
December 4, 2022
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 descriptive writing; most of the time Hornby doesn’t even need to add speech attributions because it’s clear who’s saying what in the back and forth.

Chris O’Dowd was a perfect choice to play Tom in the adaptation. Even though I haven’t seen it, I couldn’t stop seeing his face or hearing his voice in my head. Louise, on the other hand, could probably have been played by anyone, though I can see how Rosamund Pike’s uptight/posh manner would work. They’re meant to be an odd couple (they even voted different ways in the Brexit referendum) who’ve somehow stayed together all this time and raised two children. The crisis in their marriage was precipitated by Louise, a gerontologist, sleeping with someone else after her sex life with Tom, an underemployed music writer, dried up.

They rehash their life together, what went wrong, and what might happen next in 10 snappy chapters that are funny but also cut close to the bone. What married person hasn’t wondered where the magic went as midlife approaches?

Favorite lines:

“the real world is gloriously unpredictable”

“we expect marriage to be [a] perpetual-motion machine that never runs out of energy”

“I hate to be unromantic, but convenient placement is pretty much the definition of marital sex.”
Profile Image for Marianne.
3,503 reviews178 followers
September 8, 2019
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 discussing with their therapist, Kenyon; they examine their marriage and wonder if therapy can repair the damage; they talk about what went on in the previous session; and, as they watch them exit the rooms and sometimes enter the pub, they speculate on the lives of the couple whose session precedes theirs. Each of the ten chapters covers one such encounter at the pub.

Some readers may find this little book difficult to read. The problem won’t be the issues raised, although they can be thought-provoking. Rather, it’s that the reader will often be laughing so much that tears fill the eyes, and make it hard to focus on the print. Thus the standard warning about reading the book in the Quiet Carriage on Public Transport, where other commuters may be disturbed by readers rolling on the floor laughing. Those with continence issues should also consider themselves forewarned.

But for all that humour, there's wisdom and insight too. Much of the conversation between Tom and Louise will instantly strike a chord with married couples of a certain vintage. Tom manages to tie himself into several conversational knots. Brexit somehow gets in there, as does the possible gender bias of the counsellor, the offending lover, a fake cast, online dating, crosswords, sex, Rupert Murdoch and imaginary future partners. Apparently it's now a TV series: it would definitely translate well to the screen, so that is worth researching. A very entertaining read.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Penguin Random House.
Profile Image for Doug.
2,047 reviews746 followers
May 15, 2019
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 clear that the actors (Rosamund Pike and Chris O'Dowd), do a lot of the 'heavy lifting' to bring the words to life, and that without them, the words just kind of sit there. Nevertheless, a fun and quick read.
Profile Image for Dree.
122 reviews39 followers
February 25, 2020

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 other book I have read by the author is High Fidelity which although I really enjoyed, I can't now help thinking that he is trying to say something about childish, useless males, and how women should just put up with them! Although amusing, I wanted to wring Toms neck throughout this book!

Cute, but a little shallow, & ultimately did not really work for me.
Profile Image for Aletheia.
288 reviews120 followers
August 26, 2023
Ya había visto la serie de la BBC, así que no me ha sorprendido nada. Es un libro ligero, menos ocurrente que otros de Hornby, que parece escrito especialmente para la pequeña pantalla.

Son 10 capítulos en los que se describe el encuentro de una pareja (muy inglesa) 10 minutos antes de entrar en terapia tras una infidelidad. Activa el cotilla que todos llevamos dentro y, aunque está lleno de lugares comunes es entretenido y cumple la función de pasapáginas veraniego que a veces hace falta.
Profile Image for Sundae.
259 reviews3 followers
May 12, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Jillian Doherty.
353 reviews66 followers
April 17, 2019
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.
181 reviews
January 31, 2020
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
Profile Image for Janet | purrfectpages.
984 reviews40 followers
July 25, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Armin.
975 reviews36 followers
August 25, 2020

Nick Hornby schreibt in der Regel Bücher, die einen sofort in ihren Bann ziehen, aber nach etwa der Hälfte regelmäßig derart verschalen, dass man die anfängliche Verzückung kaum noch verstehen kann. Dieses Phänomen vermeidet der Autor derart gründlich in seinem letzten Streich, dass seine weitere Produktion bei mir jetzt schon auf der Schwarzen Liste steht, zwei SUB-Leichen kommen vielleicht noch mal ans Tageslicht und werden wohl ziemlich zuverlässig den üblichen Effekt reproduzieren, aber dieses Ehebuch ist in etwa so prickelnd wie die Neige von Vorgestern.

Profile Image for Megha.
225 reviews126 followers
December 4, 2020
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 the article out!

Okay, onto the book now. After reading Dr Gottman's articles, I pretty much expected it to be a book that emphasises the importance of honest communication in a marriage. The illustration of a couple on a couch on the cover page led me to believe that this would be set in a counsellor's office where the couple tries to work out the kinks (wink) in their marriage. To my dismay, the counsellor does not actually feature as a character in the book. The book features ten chapters that cover the couple's interactions over drinks at a pub BEFORE they step into the counsellor's office for their ten-part marital therapy sessions. Both the characters have their flaws that frustrated me and broke my heart. Due to the lack of background and context created to make their love story magical, I was not particularly rooting for their successful reunion. I think in a way that was the point. That this could be just any other couple because reality is usually mundane? It did reiterate one thing though- COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY, FOLKS. And also, CHEATING = BAD!

The book is entirely made of the words the couple speak out loud and not their thoughts. It was interesting to see the author convey the character's thoughts and feelings entirely through the vocabulary the characters chose to use. It says a lot about the kind of words people easily use in conversations, often not realising the importance of using the right words to convey our sentiments. The book is a short and easy read. I was able to finish it in less than an hour. I would have liked it more if the book took place in the counsellor's office, though.

It was only after I finished reading, did I find out that the book is the screenplay for the BBC mini-series by the same name, written by Nick Hornby. (Yes, I missed noticing it on the cover.) It consists of ten episodes of ten minutes each. The premise of the show is written as "Each episode pieces together how their lives were, what drew them together and what has started to pull them apart." Considering the whole series is going to be only 100 minutes long, I am going to check it out soon!
Profile Image for Oriente.
332 reviews39 followers
June 11, 2021
Ez egy színdarab?
Felépítésileg olyan, mint egy dráma, egy kamaradarab vagy egy forgatókönyv, csak a pergő párbeszédek előtt nincs ott, hogy mikor ki beszél (néha bele is zavarodtam), de amúgy két ember, egy házaspár beszélgetéseit olvashatjuk tíz jelenetre osztva. Minden héten abba a pár percbe nyerünk bepillantást, amit egy bárban töltenek, mielőtt bemennének a párterápiára megromlott házasságukat rendbehozni, ha még egyáltalán lehetséges.
Jó felépítésű kis könyv, nagyon tetszett a dinamikája, bár a végére azért már kifulladt a a lendülete. Sebaj, mire megunnánk, már véget is ér. Előadva/filmen valószínűleg jobban működhet, de kellemes volt így is.
Profile Image for Karen Foster.
689 reviews2 followers
August 5, 2019
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, and hilariously named chapters. A perfect one sitting read. 💕
Profile Image for Sabine .
97 reviews17 followers
May 24, 2020
Konnte an diesen kurzen Dialogen leider so gar nichts lustiges oder interessantes finden..... Man merkt zudem sehr stark, dass sie von einem Mann geschrieben wurden. Wenn Paare sich tatsächlich über so einen oberflächlichen Blödsinn wochenlang austauschen (würden), kann auch eine Paartherapie nichts mehr ausrichten....
Profile Image for Jessica.
359 reviews202 followers
June 7, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Matt.
Author 1 book9 followers
May 13, 2019
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 trademark Nick Hornby, and did I mention I wish it had been a novel instead of a short story?! All the same, I'm happy to have contributed to Nick's continued typing!
Profile Image for Iza Brekilien.
1,162 reviews108 followers
September 11, 2020
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 than an hour and a half. Oh well, the next will be better, I hope ?
Profile Image for Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies.
948 reviews107 followers
November 26, 2019
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 like 2 hours to read and you can't help feeling gypped.

Really cute.
Profile Image for Patricia.
524 reviews99 followers
July 10, 2019
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!
Profile Image for Callie.
672 reviews22 followers
May 27, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Laurie Popovac.
123 reviews6 followers
July 15, 2019
boring and the the husband and wife were so annoying and obnoxious. meh
Profile Image for Maison Koala.
244 reviews10 followers
May 19, 2020
E niente, ce ne vorrà prima che questo lockdown mi riappacifichi financo con gli autori che - normalmente - amo di più.
È il caso di Nick Hornby, che il più delle volte trovo geniale ma in questo libriccino salutato dalla critica come folgorante, esilarante, etc. non mi ha convinta per niente.
Sarà anche che a casa, in quarantena, son volate parole (davvero) grosse, ma la flemma e la premura reciproca di Louise e Tom, coppia in crisi che una volta a settimana conversa e si riscopre al tavolo di un pub prima della seduta dal consulente matrimoniale, mi è parsa credibile quanto l’iniziale approccio di Boris Johnson al COVID-19, ecco, per restare in tema UK.
Non so in Inghilterra, ma qui dalle mie parti se l’ombra di un divorzio si allunga temibile e scioccante (come la Brexit) i toni non sono decisamente quelli dei due protagonisti, che in molte scene mi han ricordato un pastelloso & cuoricioso quadretto di Peynet!

Bonus track: so però che per i fortunati portatori sani di abbonamento Sky è uscita su laF la miniserie "Lo stato dell'unione: dieci scene da un matrimonio", diretta da Stephen Frear. E vederla mi incuriosirebbe assai, perché per qualche motivo prevedo uno di quei rari casi in cui la TV rende meglio della pagina scritta.
Profile Image for sari.
36 reviews1 follower
September 17, 2021
3.5 stars?? i randomly picked it up from a shelf so that's on me😩🖐🏼 every chapter starts the same way so it's very formulaic, did not include the therapist or therapy sessions which was disappointing, howeVER it was interesting to observe the profound ideas in the book and watch their relationship after years of marriage. looking at the love aspect, there's no way love can remain the same level throughout a relationship and they were able to show their surface-level irritation and deeper attachment to each other. i wouldn't read again :D
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