The Amateur Marriage, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


From the incomparable Anne Tyler, a rich and compelling novel, spanning three generations, about a mismatched marriage - and its consequences.

Michael and Pauline seemed like the perfect couple - young, good-looking, made for each other.

The moment she walked into his mother's grocery store in Baltimore, he was smitten, and in the heat of World War II fervour, they marry in haste.

From the sound of the cash register in the old grocery to the counter-culture jargon of the sixties, from the miniskirts to the multilayers of later years, Anne Tyler captures the nuances of everyday life with telling precision and sly humour.


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A marvellous, multi-layered novel: a detailed, non-judgemental portrait of the most typical marriage imaginable, full of startlingly real and recognisable (“Oh my god, that’s my dad!” characters) and, at the same time, a series of snapshots of the mid-to-late 20th century: a clannish Polish neighbourhood at the (American) outset of the second World War, ghastly never-had-it-so-good 50’s suburbia, the growing discontent of the sixties, the multi-ethnicism of the present day. Flawlessly written, a beautiful book.

Review by

If you are looking ahead to 14 hours on an airplane, any book by Anne Tyler is a winner. They are interesting, fun, quirky, and easy to read when you are half asleep. But that said, this is not one of my favorites. If you have a choice, pick up Back When We Were Grownups instead of this one. That's the book where I think she got this story right.

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