The Story of a Marriage by Geir Gulliksen

The Story of a Marriage

Geir Gulliksen

The Story of a Marriage cracks wide open the familiar story of a failed love, revealing a bitter hollowness and ringing new meanings.

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A dramatic portrait of the dissolution of a marriage, written with brutal and lyrical precision, and nominated for the Nordic Prize.

Jon, who is losing his wife to another man, is trying to understand what happened to his Great Love, by working, painfully, to see the story from her perspective. It begins as he asks her: "Can you tell me about us?" As he looks to his past and within himself, he begins to question the conventions of masculinity and femininity, understanding himself uncommonly as a man who challenges the male role--he's deeply embedded in family life, and identifies as sensitive, vulnerable, and nurturing. And finally, in an effort to understand how his wife could fall in love with someone else, he attempts an ultimate act of empathy: to tell the story from the other man's point of view, raising crippling questions: Is it possible to have sex without violating oneself or the other? How much of what we think is love is only projection? Is it possible to truly know another person?

With prose unsettling in its precision and emotional heft, The Story of a Marriage cracks wide open the familiar story of a failed love, as it turns cliched phrases over and over again until they crumble, revealing a bitter hollowness--or ringing new meanings.


Advance Galley Reviews

Thank you to Penguin Books for allowing me to read the galley. That said, I cranked out the last third of the book just to get it over with. Set in Norway, Jon tells the story of the affair with, marriage to and divorce from Timmy. Timmy is a woman who seems to fall in love with any man who looks at her a certain way. Jon made the mistake of looking. The story takes place from his point of view. He sets himself up for failure. But Timmy is no prize and certainly one of the least likable females in fiction I have ever encountered. The Story Of A Bizarre Marriage would be a better title.

This is a remarkable tale of the end of a marriage told by the husband from what he perceives to be the wife's perspective. It's painful and there were parts where I was expecting him to say that maybe in retrospect he should have done differently. But do we know what could have been done to save the relationship? Or if it was a relationship worth saving? I was pulled in by the husband's journey of trying to come to terms with his loss. I would definitely read more from this author. I am glad that this was translated to English.

I’d like to thank the publisher for this arc in return for my honest review. I have to say I have read quite a few books on the subject but never from a man’s POV on a breakdown of a marriage, I found it enlightening and disturbing at the same time. I wanted him to have a backbone and kick the offending party out of the household before anymore damage can be done to the family, but he couldn’t do it, and I felt that was different from what I was made to believe so I found this enlightening in that manner. I really had no feels other than revolution for the wife, but that’s just how I feel about all adulterers male or female, I feel the party should leave before they commit the act to respect the inspecting party and to leave them with their dignity in tacked.

This Norwegian story which tells the tale of a marriage from it's beginning (when they met) to end (after the wife's affair). Told from the husband's perspective, but his view of what he thinks his wife experienced. I found myself annoyed with the husband's character and was thankful that this was a relatively short read. Thanks to First to Read- Penguin Books USA for the free copy of this book.

Sadly, I did not finish this book. i got about halfway through and, it was just so mind numbingly boring, I gave up! I skipped through and skimmed the rest of the book and didn't feel like I had missed anything or that there was even a actual plot. Very mundane way of writing, in my opinion and, although I'm sure some people will like it, it simply was not for me.

This book was very different than the type of novel I generally read. It was written by a Norwegian author, a new experience for me. Although I did like the format the author used, the storyline and characters did not interest me.

This story was written in a unique (raw) way and in in one voice, being from the messed up husband. Sometimes it was hard for me to remember the dialogue was not changing, but once I got used to it being in one person’s point of view, it was easier. The male character was not a traditional male figure and had a twisted outlook to what a traditional marriage should be. His idea of a good marriage was twisted and he projected that into his marriage as well as his skewed belief of what a wife needs from a husband. He couldn’t have ruined his marriage more artfully if he had tried.

 


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