Picks and Pans Review: A Happy Marriage

UPDATED 08/24/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/24/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Rafael Yglesias |

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Inspired by his own marriage, which ended with his wife Margaret's death five years ago, Yglesias' novel is a stunner. By turns wrenching, amusing and exasperating, it focuses on Enrique Sabas, a self-involved novelist; his awkward early days with the incandescent woman he will wed (also called Margaret); their clashes and her death from cancer. The book's strength lies in its depiction of marriage as a journey marked by love and hate, romance and tedium. Even as the strong-willed Margaret slips away, Enrique "long[s] to penetrate the mystery of how they had managed to live a life together while they were so different...." In the end he realizes that only one thing matters: "despite all the obstacles nature and the human world had put in their way ... her love and his love had survived."

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