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The Newlyweds [ THE NEWLYWEDS BY Freudenberger, Nell ( Author ) May-01-2012[ THE NEWLYWEDS [ THE NEWLYWEDS BY FREUDENBERGER, NELL ( AUTHOR ) MAY-01-2012 ] By Freudenberger, Nell ( Author )May-01-2012 Compact Disc

4.1 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • CD-ROM
  • Publisher: Random House Audio (1 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009CN033A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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4.1 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
The Newlyweds is a cross-cultural love affair but not a romantic novel by any stretch of the imagination. It's more about misconceptions, misunderstandings and accommodations that come with relationships, compounded many times over when people come together from different backgrounds and with conflicting expectations. Amina emigrates to America to marry George, who she met on an online dating forum. Her plan is to bring her parents over as soon as she gains citizenship and becomes legally eligible and she can hardly envisage a life without them. Of course George, as a modern American husband, doesn't relish the idea of living with his in-laws and is reluctant to make the financial and other sacrifices it will take to bring it about. Further complications ensue when she discovers that George hasn't been entirely honest with her, and their relationship is tested by a number of setbacks, not least Amina's difficulty in conceiving.

It takes a brave writer to take on the persona of someone from another culture, ethnicity and religion and claim authenticity for their voice. I think Nell Freudenberger has pulled it off. No doubt there will be commentators with closer knowledge of Bangladesh who might pick holes in some of the details but her portrayal of Amina is convincing. This is a real flesh and blood character with heart and soul and the background is well-researched and avoids stereotypes.

I was surprised to see (at the time of writing) only one other five star review. For me this is first class writing and full of warmth and compassion for human frailty. Her tone reminds me a little of Anne Tyler, and the caught between two cultures - and two alternate futures - aspect of it was a little reminiscent of Colm Tobin's wonderful Brooklyn where Eilis faces a similar dilemma.
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By Susie B TOP 100 REVIEWER on 23 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
Amina Mazid is an attractive, naïve twenty-four-year-old, living in Bangladesh with her parents and looking for a husband; however, apart from a teenage crush on the handsome Nasir, a close family friend, who is like a cousin to her, she has been unable to find the right man; that is until she joins an Asian-European online dating site and meets George Stillman, who is ten years her senior and lives in Rochester, USA. George, sensible, reserved and dependable, is looking for someone of a similar temperament and, after several months of online courtship, he decides Amina is what he is looking for. So, eleven months after their first contact, Amina arrives in America and the two of them marry soon afterwards - although not in a Muslim ceremony as George had initially promised.

As Amina tries hard to settle down in a strange country, she finds it tiring juggling work with her studies and with keeping house, but she also finds it difficult being fully intimate with a man who, although seemingly kind, has certain expectations of her and of their life together. And then Amina wants to bring her parents to the USA, but George seems rather less than enthusiastic about this plan now she is actually in America, which causes a lot of worry and heartache for her. Amina finds solace in her growing friendship with Kim, George's adopted cousin, a yoga instructor, who has lived in India and was married to an Indian man. However, when Amina discovers that Kim has been hiding a secret from her, a secret that deeply affects Amina, she feels shocked and betrayed - but what is more shocking is that George has also been hiding something from her which makes her seriously question their future together.
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Format: Paperback
Actually this is not so much the portrait of a marriage, more the portrait of a new life. Amina, an only child, has left her beloved parents in Bangladesh to take a giant leap into the unknown. An unknown man, an unknown country, an unknown and uncertain future. On an online dating site, an email relationship has developed between her and George who lives in Rochester, USA. For Bangladeshis, America is the promised land and Amina's parents encourage this blossoming romance. The book opens with Amina adapting to life in a new country where her dream of citizenship, a career and motherhood will not be complete without her parents.

I agree with every aspect of Tamara L's wonderful review and could not put it better. The first two-thirds of the book, set in Rochester, definitely had echoes of Anne Tyler. This, to me, is a Very Fine Thing. The last part of the book is set in Bangladesh and the culture clash between the two locations provides a truly fascinating counterpoint.

Nell Freudenberger has written a fully three-dimensional and immensely likable character in the petite shape of Amina. Indeed, I would say that all the people in this warm, engaging book are recognisably `real', even those with small 'walk-on' parts. I did have one small fear that Amina's childhood friend Nasir was going to develop into some sort of violent extremist; I can't tell you how relieved I was that the author resisted the temptation to introduce conflict of that sort. Not only that, but she turned the character around to be one of the most sympathetic in the book. This was deft writing and I must own up to my eyes welling up at one point and a real lump in my throat.

I give The Newlyweds 4.
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