Blurb (as on Goodreads):
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. In this deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America, Jones achieves that most-illusive of all literary goals: the Great American Novel.
Named an Oprah’s Book Club Selection.
“An American Marriage” is all about a marriage that involves two black people who are played by fate in an unimaginably cruel way. Roy and Celestial are happily married and are living the ideal American life. Roy has a good job, is loving and supportive of his wife’s aspirations. Celestial is an Independent woman who is heading towards a bright future through her work. But their lives are turned upside down when Roy gets arrested for a crime he didn’t commit.
While Celestial struggles to find a balance after Roy is incarcerated, she finds herself drawn to Andre- her childhood bestie. Roy has his own problems and fights in the prison. And if things could get any more complex, Roy gets his sentence reduced and is out long before his initial sentence.
While the plot lacks a distinct and complicated writing style, I loved how raw and vulnerable the characters are. Roy, Celestial and Andre are all victims of fate and they are trying to cope up the only way they know. Roy craves for a normal life, whereas Celestial has loneliness and prejudice as her teacher, one that only made her choose paths she wouldn’t have chosen otherwise.
“An American Marriage” is a casual take on relationships and marriage, how happiness can be short-lived and loneliness can turn you into a different person. The lines between right and wrong get burred most of the times because human beings are impulsive, and driven by emotions and everyday situation.
Honestly, the story might feel frustrating because the story shows grief through people’s actions rather than thoughts, and as readers, we always look for metaphors and allegories but sometimes people are only capable of actions, however hasty they are.