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The Newlyweds (Playaway Adult Fiction)

4.1 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

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  • Publisher: Random House (1 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617079308
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617079306
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 13.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Review

"Surprising . . . riveting. ["The Newlyweds"] succeeds based on Freudenberger's uncanny ability to feel her way inside Amina's skin as she takes courageous, self-sacrificing steps toward realizing her dream. Caught between two worlds, Amina begins to know herself and to understand the inevitable limits of her choices. . . . For all its global sophistication, the most remarkable accomplishment of this hugely satisfying novel is Freudenberger's subtle exploration of the stage of adulthood at the heart of "The Newlyweds," and all the compromises with selfhood those early years of love and marriage entail." --Jane Ciabattari, "Los Angeles Times"
"The union at the heart of Freudenberger's gentle new novel is not of the Cupid's arrow bliss the title evokes. George and Amina's marriage, though not lacking in affection, is more of a leap of faith than most. . . . "The Newlyweds" is about all sorts of complex relationships: between parents and children; with first loves; with the places we depart and those we adopt, and 'the many selves' this fluidity creates. Freudenberger does an especially lovely job creating Amina's worlds--her emotional terrain, her wonder and bewilderment adjusting to America, her life in Bangladesh."" --"Agnes Torres Al-Shibibi, "The Seattle Times
"
"A merging of lives, a collision of cultures--these themes are at the heart of Freudenberger's fine second novel . . . Amina Mazid 'meets' George Stillman on a dating website. He's 10 years older, looking to get married and start a family. She dreams of a better life in America. After nearly a year of corresponding online, George travels to Amina's home village to meet her family, and they become engaged. Yet both hide secrets that will complicate their relationship. By the following spring, they're living together in Rochester. Several aspects of Amina's new life prove puzzling: American megastores, such as WalMart and Bed, Bath and Beyond, overwhelm her. In conversation, she doesn't underst

"The beauty of "The Newlyweds" rests in its apparent simplicity. In clear, unfussy prose, this is the story of a marriage between two people who believe they can carve their own fate. Amina, a thoughtful Muslim woman, had always dreamed of escaping the deprivations of her life in Bangladesh. George, an engineer, was keen to settle down, yet he lacked any aptitude for the games of Western wooing. After an epistolary courtship via a dating website, the two get married and begin a life of slow mutual discovery. Within this straightforward arc lurk larger ideas: about love, destiny, choices, and the immigrant experience. Freudenberger's gifts as a writer are in spinning yarns that are engrossing and wise, with just enough suspense to build momentum. . . . She explores here the sharp contrasts and amusing discoveries of a world glimpsed through foreign eyes [and] with a light touch, conveys the gamble of choosing one's destiny." --"The Economist"
"Beautiful . . . Strong. [This is] the story of a 24-year-old from Bangladesh who moves to Rochester, NY, to marry a man she met online for love. She's never left her home country, and only met her fiance once--but to those around her, the fact that the marriage is unarranged is the oddest part. The story follows her assimilation into American culture, and her struggles with establishing her new home, culturally, religiously, psychologically and even sexually. The commentary on women in modern society, as well as their place overseas, will jolt you into thinking about gender roles, and the constant tension in discussions about marriage, both arranged and for love, is provocative. Most importantly, Freudenberger's narrative is also a discovery for her main character, Amina, of her own strength. Turns out that the process of writing "The Newlyweds "was one of evolution for the author, a busy mother and strong woman herself." --Meredith Turits, "Glamour"
"Surprising . . . riveting. ["The Newlyweds"] succeeds based o

"A big, complicated portrait of marriage, culture, family, and love. . . . Every minute I was away from this book I was longing to be back in the world she created." --Ann Patchett, author of "State of Wonder
"
"Riveting. ["The Newlyweds"] succeeds based on Freudenberger's uncanny ability to feel her way inside Amina's skin." --"Los Angeles Times
"
"A delight, one of the easiest book recommendations of the year. . . . The cross-cultural tensions and romance so well drawn here recall the pleasures of Monica Ali's "Brick Lane" and Helen Simonson's "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand." . . . "The Newlyweds" offers a reading experience redolent of Janeite charms: gentle touches of social satire, subtly drawn characters and dialogue that expresses far more than its polite surface. . . . On either side of the world, making a marriage work demands casting off not just old lovers, but cherished fantasies about who we are. Whether these two alien lovebirds can--or should--do that is the question Freudenberger poses so beguilingly." --"The Washington Post"
" "
"A marvelous book." --Kiran Desai, author of "The Inheritance of Loss"
"The relationship between reader and writer is always something of an arranged marriage, in the sense that the reader enters a stranger's sensibility, hoping for the best. Amina and George may have a complicated connection, but "Newlyweds" is an unambiguous success." --Meg Wolitzer, "More "
"A genuinely moving story about a woman trying to negotiate two cultures, balancing her parents' expectations with her own aspirations, her ambition and cynical practicality with deeper, more romantic yearnings. . . . Freudenberger demonstrates her assurance as a novelist and her knowledge of the complicated arithmetic of familial love, and the mathematics of romantic passion." --Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"
"Parts of "The Newlyweds" might be about the learning curve faced by any freshly married couple. . . . Like writers such as Jhumpa Lahiri and Ha Jin, she deftly shows how strange the rituals of suburban America seem to an observant outsider." --"The Wall Street Journal"
"Freudenberger's central couple are more than well-crafted characters; they shimmer with believability and self-contradicting nuance. . . . Fluid and utterly confident." --"Time Out New York"
""The Newlyweds" is so much more than a 'lost-in-translation' romp: There are soulful depths to the sociology. . . . [A] luscious and intelligent novel that will stick with you. . . . Freudenberger keeps the wonderfulness coming." --Maureen Corrigan, NPR
"Freudenberger brings impressive attributes to bear in ["The Newlyweds"]: a powerful sense of empathy, of being able to imagine what it is to be someone else, to feel what someone else feels; an effective writing style that avoids drawing attention to itself; and an international sensibility, which allows her to write about places outside America not as peripheral--mere playgrounds for American characters--but as central to themselves." --"The New York Times Book""Review"
"Once in a while, you come across a novel with characters so rich and nuanced, and situations so pitch-perfect, that you forget you're reading fiction. "The Newlyweds" is that sort of novel. I was floored by it--captivated from beginning to end. And now that I'm done, I can't stop thinking about it." --J. Courtney Sullivan, author of "Maine
"
"That Amina and George manage to muddle though the first years of marriage is a testament to the power of love and respect; that we care about them all the way through says as much about Freudenberger's keen observations and generous heart." --"O, The Oprah Magazine"
""The Newlyweds" crosses continents, cultures and generations. . . . It's funny, gracefully written and full of loneliness and yearning. It's also a candid, recognizable story about love--the real-life kind, which is often hard and sustained by hope, kindness, and pure effort." --"USA Today"
"Freudenberger draws women's complex lives as brilliantly as Austen or Wharton or Woolf, and, with "The Newlyweds," has given a performance of beauty and grace." --Andrew Sean Greer, author of "The Story of a Marriage
"
"Rich, wise, bighearted. . . . Freudenberger works with care and respect, giving a full voice to every Deshi aunt, American cousin, and passing employee at the Starbucks where Amina finds a job. Freudenberger moves gracefully between South Asian fantasies of American life and the realities of bone-cold, snow-prone upstate New York--and turns the coming together of newlyweds Amina and George into a readers' banquet." --"Entertainment Weekly," Grade: A
"A true triumph." --"The New York Observer"
"Captivating. . . . This engaging story, with its page after page of effortless prose, ultimately offers up a deeper narrative." --"The Boston Globe"
"Wise, timely, ripe with humor and complexity, "The Newlyweds" is one of the most believable love stories of our young century."--Gary Shteyngart, author of "Super Sad True Love Story
"
"Amina's determination, intelligence, and resilience make her a heroine for any culture and any time." --"Marie Claire"
"Exceptional . . . Here is an honest depiction of life as most people actually live it: Americans and Asians, Christians and Muslims, liberals and conservatives. Freudenberger writes with a cultural fluency that is remarkable and in a prose that is clean, intelligent, and very witty." --David Bezmozgis, author of "The Free World"


A big, complicated portrait of marriage, culture, family, and love. . . .Every minute I was away from this book I was longing to be back in the world she created. Ann Patchett, author of "State of Wonder
"
Riveting. ["The Newlyweds"] succeeds based on Freudenberger s uncanny ability to feel her way inside Amina s skin. "Los Angeles Times
"
A delight, one of the easiest book recommendations of the year. . . . The cross-cultural tensions and romance so well drawn here recall the pleasures of Monica Ali s "Brick Lane" and Helen Simonson s "Major Pettigrew s Last Stand." . . . "The Newlyweds" offers a reading experience redolent of Janeite charms: gentle touches of social satire, subtly drawn characters and dialogue that expresses far more than its polite surface. . . . On either side of the world, making a marriage work demands casting off not just old lovers, but cherished fantasies about who we are. Whether these two alien lovebirds can or should do that is the question Freudenberger poses so beguilingly. "The Washington Post"
""
A marvelous book. Kiran Desai, author of "The Inheritance of Loss"
The relationship between reader and writer is always something of an arranged marriage, in the sense that the reader enters a stranger s sensibility, hoping for the best. Amina and George may have a complicated connection, but "Newlyweds" is an unambiguous success. Meg Wolitzer, "More "
A genuinely moving story about a woman trying to negotiate two cultures, balancing her parents expectations with her own aspirations, her ambition and cynical practicality with deeper, more romantic yearnings. . . . Freudenberger demonstrates her assurance as a novelist and her knowledge of the complicated arithmetic of familial love, and the mathematics of romantic passion. Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"
Parts of "The Newlyweds" might be about the learning curve faced by any freshly married couple. . . . Like writers such as Jhumpa Lahiri and Ha Jin, she deftly shows how strange the rituals of suburban America seem to an observant outsider. "The Wall Street Journal"
Freudenberger s central couple are more than well-crafted characters; they shimmer with believability and self-contradicting nuance. . . . Fluid and utterly confident. "Time Out New York"
"The Newlyweds" is so much more than a lost-in-translation romp: There are soulful depths to the sociology. . . . [A] luscious and intelligent novel that will stick with you. . . . Freudenberger keeps the wonderfulness coming. Maureen Corrigan, NPR
Freudenberger brings impressive attributes to bear in ["The Newlyweds"]: a powerful sense of empathy, of being able to imagine what it is to be someone else, to feel what someone else feels; an effective writing style that avoids drawing attention to itself; and an international sensibility, which allows her to write about places outside America not as peripheral mere playgrounds for American characters but as central to themselves. "The New York Times Book" "Review"
Once in a while, you come across a novel with characters so rich and nuanced, and situations so pitch-perfect, that you forget you're reading fiction. "The Newlyweds" is that sort of novel. I was floored by it captivated from beginning to end. And now that I'm done, I can t stop thinking about it. J. Courtney Sullivan, author of "Maine
"
That Amina and George manage to muddle though the first years of marriage is a testament to the power of love and respect; that we care about them all the way through says as much about Freudenberger s keen observations and generous heart. "O, The Oprah Magazine"
"The Newlyweds" crosses continents, cultures and generations. . . . It s funny, gracefully written and full of loneliness and yearning. It s also a candid, recognizable story about love the real-life kind, which is often hard and sustained by hope, kindness, and pure effort. "USA Today"
Freudenberger draws women's complex lives as brilliantly as Austen or Wharton or Woolf, and, with"The Newlyweds," has given a performance of beauty and grace. Andrew Sean Greer, author of "The Story of a Marriage
"
Rich, wise, bighearted. . . . Freudenberger works with care and respect, giving a full voice to every Deshi aunt, American cousin, and passing employee at the Starbucks where Amina finds a job. Freudenberger moves gracefully between South Asian fantasies of American life and the realities of bone-cold, snow-prone upstate New York and turns the coming together of newlyweds Amina and George into a readers banquet. "Entertainment Weekly," Grade: A
A true triumph. "The New York Observer"
Captivating. . . . This engaging story, with its page after page of effortless prose, ultimately offers up a deeper narrative. "The Boston Globe"
Wise, timely, ripe with humor and complexity, "The Newlyweds" is one of the most believable love stories of our young century. Gary Shteyngart, author of "Super Sad True Love Story
"
Amina s determination, intelligence, and resilience make her a heroine for any culture and any time. "Marie Claire"
Exceptional . . . Here is an honest depiction of life as most people actually live it: Americans and Asians, Christians and Muslims, liberals and conservatives. Freudenberger writes with a cultural fluency that is remarkable and in a prose that is clean, intelligent, and very witty. David Bezmozgis, author of"The Free World"
" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Nell Freudenberger is the author of the novel "The Dissident" and the story collection "Lucky Girls, " winner of the PEN/Malamud Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; both books were "New York Times Book Review" Notables. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship from the New York Public Library, she was named one of "Granta" s Best Young American Novelists and one of "The" "New Yorker" s 20 Under 40. She lives in Brooklyn with her family." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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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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