Marry Me: A Romance

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9780449912157: Marry Me: A Romance

Marry Me is subtitled “A Romance” because, in the author’s words, “people don’t act like that anymore.” The time is 1962, and the place is a fiefdom of Camelot called Greenwood, Connecticut. Jerry Conant and Sally Mathias are in love and want to get married, though they already are married to others. A diadem of five symmetrical chapters describes the course of their affair as it flickers off and on, and as their spouses react, in a tentative late-summer atmosphere of almost-last chances. For this is, as Jerry observes, “the twilight of the old morality, and there’s just enough to torment us, and not enough to hold us in.”

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Updike's eighth novel, subtitled "A Romance" because, he says, "People don't act like that any more," centers on the love affair of a married couple in the Connecticut of 1962. Unfortunately, this is a couple whose members are married to other people. Suburban infidelity is familiar territory by now, but nobody knows it as well as Updike, and the book is written with the author's characteristic poetic sensibility and sly wit.

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