Cleaving: The Story of a Marriage

3.3 avg rating
( 63 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780865475892: Cleaving: The Story of a Marriage
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

"Marriage is like a rain forest," Vicki Covington writes in Cleaving. "The story of a marriage contains all that grows in the canopy, all that is visible from an aerial, or public, view. The understory of a marriage is the place where . . . we struggle, fight, and conceive. It's the place where compost is made, where anything can grow, including forgiveness." Told in the authors' alternating voices, Cleaving is both the story and the understory of a marriage.

Childhood acquaintances, Vicki and Dennis meet again in their twenties and wed. they "promise each other nothing" and get more than they'd bargained for: alcoholism, infidelity, infertility, uncertainty. tumult gives way to sobriety, parenthood, and meaningful work, but a yearning remains. In a quest to root themselves in the larger world, they embark on a mission to dig water wells in Central America, assuaging a spiritual thirst by addressing a practical need. Yet even this is part of the story-the visible, overarching canopy-of the marriage. The understory-and the triumph of this haunting book, which is neither sentimental nor cynical-is its portrayal of the eddying of passion through the institution that enshrines but cannot contain it.

A soulful and unsparing portrait of the forces that threaten-and sustain-a relationship over time.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

One doesn't know whether to admire Vicki and Dennis Covington for writing Cleaving or to shudder and hide one's head in the sand. Written in alternating voices, this tag-team memoir draws a thorough portrait of one marriage, complete with decades' worth of adultery, drugs, alcoholism, abortion, and sin. In the Covingtons' case, these bohemian carryings-on come mixed with a goodly portion of old-time religion. After going sober, the couple settled down to raising daughters, attending church, doing good works, and writing books (they claim 7 between them, including Dennis's thoughtful Salvation on Sand Mountain, a finalist for the National Book Award). They even spearheaded a church mission to drill wells in Central America, a project which here yields not only life-giving water but also a rich flood of marital metaphor.

Yet their problems didn't go away. Charged with writing an inspirational book about marriage, the Covingtons found their own union once again in serious disarray. Rather than making themselves look good, they chose to tell the absolute truth about what had passed between them, and in the process they created this unusual memoir, an unflinching look at the forces that bind a couple together as well as those that rend them apart. After all, as Vicki points out, the word cleave--taken from the Biblical injunction for a man to leave his mother and father--can mean either to cling to or to divide, "as by a cutting blow." In their case, it meant both: "Love plays us like an accordion. Together, apart, together, apart..." People talk about honesty as if that were a literary virtue in itself. It's not, of course, but this excruciatingly honest memoir has many virtues of its own, including some lovely, unfussy writing and a steadfast refusal to look away when that would be the easiest thing to do. Whether all this spiritual soul-baring makes you feel compassionate or just queasy is, however, a matter of taste. --Mary Park

From the Inside Flap:

Marriage is like a rainforest. You have the canopy and the understory. The story of a marriage contains all that grows in the canopy, all that is visible from an aerial, or public, view. The understory of a marriage is the place where other things thrive. It is in the understory that we struggle, fight, and conceive. It is the place where we toss things, where compost is made, where anything can grow, including forgiveness. --from Cleaving

Told in the authors' alternating voices, Cleaving is both the story and the understory of a marriage, unique in its particulars but universal in its resonance. Childhood acquaintances, Vicki and Dennis meet again in their twenties and wed. Like many of their generation, they "promise each other nothing" and get more than they'd bargained for: alcoholism, infidelity, infertility, uncertainty. Gradually, tumult gives way to sobriety, parenthood, and meaningful work, but a sense of yearning remains. In a quest to root themselves in the larger world, they embark on a mission to hand-drill water wells in Central America, attempting to slake a spiritual thirst by addressing a practical need.

Yet even this turns out to be part of the story--the visible, overarching canopy--of the marriage. The understory--and the triumph of this haunting book, which succumbs to neither sentimentality nor cynicism--is its portrayal of the unpredictable eddying of passion through the institution that enshrines but cannot contain it.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780865475489: Cleaving: The Story of a Marriage

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0865475482 ISBN 13:  9780865475489
Publisher: North Point Pr, 1999
Hardcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Covington, Dennis; Covington, Vicki
Published by North Point Press
ISBN 10: 086547589X ISBN 13: 9780865475892
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 15
Seller:
Lakeside Books
(Benton Harbor, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description North Point Press. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 086547589X BRAND NEW, GIFT QUALITY! NOT OVERSTOCKS OR MARKED UP REMAINDERS! DIRECT FROM THE PUBLISHER!|0.52. Seller Inventory # OTF-S-9780865475892

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 11.67
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Covington, Dennis
Published by North Point Press (2018)
ISBN 10: 086547589X ISBN 13: 9780865475892
New Paperback Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description North Point Press, 2018. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used! This item is printed on demand. Seller Inventory # 086547589X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 15.69
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Covington, Dennis
Published by NORTH POINT PR (2000)
ISBN 10: 086547589X ISBN 13: 9780865475892
New Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description NORTH POINT PR, 2000. PAP. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IQ-9780865475892

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 12.60
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Covington, Dennis
Published by Farrar, Strauss & Giroux-3pl 5/8/2000 (2000)
ISBN 10: 086547589X ISBN 13: 9780865475892
New Paperback or Softback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
BargainBookStores
(Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Farrar, Strauss & Giroux-3pl 5/8/2000, 2000. Paperback or Softback. Condition: New. Cleaving. Book. Seller Inventory # BBS-9780865475892

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.63
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Dennis Covington
Published by Farrar, Strauss Giroux-3pl (2000)
ISBN 10: 086547589X ISBN 13: 9780865475892
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Farrar, Strauss Giroux-3pl, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised and Rev.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Marriage is like a rain forest, Vicki Covington writes in Cleaving. The story of a marriage contains all that grows in the canopy, all that is visible from an aerial, or public, view. The understory of a marriage is the place where . . . we struggle, fight, and conceive. It s the place where compost is made, where anything can grow, including forgiveness. Told in the authors alternating voices, Cleaving is both the story and the understory of a marriage. Childhood acquaintances, Vicki and Dennis meet again in their twenties and wed. they promise each other nothing and get more than they d bargained for: alcoholism, infidelity, infertility, uncertainty. tumult gives way to sobriety, parenthood, and meaningful work, but a yearning remains. In a quest to root themselves in the larger world, they embark on a mission to dig water wells in Central America, assuaging a spiritual thirst by addressing a practical need. Yet even this is part of the story-the visible, overarching canopy-of the marriage. The understory-and the triumph of this haunting book, which is neither sentimental nor cynical-is its portrayal of the eddying of passion through the institution that enshrines but cannot contain it. A soulful and unsparing portrait of the forces that threaten-and sustain-a relationship over time. Seller Inventory # BZE9780865475892

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.89
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Dennis Covington
Published by Farrar, Strauss Giroux-3pl (2000)
ISBN 10: 086547589X ISBN 13: 9780865475892
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Print on Demand
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Farrar, Strauss Giroux-3pl, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised and Rev.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Marriage is like a rain forest, Vicki Covington writes in Cleaving. The story of a marriage contains all that grows in the canopy, all that is visible from an aerial, or public, view. The understory of a marriage is the place where . . . we struggle, fight, and conceive. It s the place where compost is made, where anything can grow, including forgiveness. Told in the authors alternating voices, Cleaving is both the story and the understory of a marriage. Childhood acquaintances, Vicki and Dennis meet again in their twenties and wed. they promise each other nothing and get more than they d bargained for: alcoholism, infidelity, infertility, uncertainty. tumult gives way to sobriety, parenthood, and meaningful work, but a yearning remains. In a quest to root themselves in the larger world, they embark on a mission to dig water wells in Central America, assuaging a spiritual thirst by addressing a practical need. Yet even this is part of the story-the visible, overarching canopy-of the marriage. The understory-and the triumph of this haunting book, which is neither sentimental nor cynical-is its portrayal of the eddying of passion through the institution that enshrines but cannot contain it. A soulful and unsparing portrait of the forces that threaten-and sustain-a relationship over time. Seller Inventory # APC9780865475892

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 17.51
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Dennis Covington
Published by Farrar, Strauss Giroux-3pl (2000)
ISBN 10: 086547589X ISBN 13: 9780865475892
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Print on Demand
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Farrar, Strauss Giroux-3pl, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised and Rev.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Marriage is like a rain forest, Vicki Covington writes in Cleaving. The story of a marriage contains all that grows in the canopy, all that is visible from an aerial, or public, view. The understory of a marriage is the place where . . . we struggle, fight, and conceive. It s the place where compost is made, where anything can grow, including forgiveness. Told in the authors alternating voices, Cleaving is both the story and the understory of a marriage. Childhood acquaintances, Vicki and Dennis meet again in their twenties and wed. they promise each other nothing and get more than they d bargained for: alcoholism, infidelity, infertility, uncertainty. tumult gives way to sobriety, parenthood, and meaningful work, but a yearning remains. In a quest to root themselves in the larger world, they embark on a mission to dig water wells in Central America, assuaging a spiritual thirst by addressing a practical need. Yet even this is part of the story-the visible, overarching canopy-of the marriage. The understory-and the triumph of this haunting book, which is neither sentimental nor cynical-is its portrayal of the eddying of passion through the institution that enshrines but cannot contain it. A soulful and unsparing portrait of the forces that threaten-and sustain-a relationship over time. Seller Inventory # APC9780865475892

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 17.98
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Dennis Covington; Vicki Covington
ISBN 10: 086547589X ISBN 13: 9780865475892
New Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
ReadWhiz
(Portland, OR, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Condition: New. Seller Inventory # ria9780865475892_ing

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 18.68
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Dennis Covington
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux
ISBN 10: 086547589X ISBN 13: 9780865475892
New Paperback Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
BuySomeBooks
(Las Vegas, NV, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Farrar Straus Giroux. Paperback. Condition: New. 224 pages. Dimensions: 7.8in. x 5.4in. x 0.5in.Marriage is like a rain forest, Vicki Covington writes in Cleaving. The story of a marriage contains all that grows in the canopy, all that is visible from an aerial, or public, view. The understory of a marriage is the place where . . . we struggle, fight, and conceive. Its the place where compost is made, where anything can grow, including forgiveness. Told in the authors alternating voices, Cleaving is both the story and the understory of a marriage. Childhood acquaintances, Vicki and Dennis meet again in their twenties and wed. they promise each other nothing and get more than theyd bargained for: alcoholism, infidelity, infertility, uncertainty. tumult gives way to sobriety, parenthood, and meaningful work, but a yearning remains. In a quest to root themselves in the larger world, they embark on a mission to dig water wells in Central America, assuaging a spiritual thirst by addressing a practical need. Yet even this is part of the story-the visible, overarching canopy-of the marriage. The understory-and the triumph of this haunting book, which is neither sentimental nor cynical-is its portrayal of the eddying of passion through the institution that enshrines but cannot contain it. A soulful and unsparing portrait of the forces that threaten-and sustain-a relationship over time. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780865475892

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 19.65
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Covington, Dennis; Covington, Vicki
Published by North Point Press (2000)
ISBN 10: 086547589X ISBN 13: 9780865475892
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description North Point Press, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # INGM9780865475892

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.23
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book