Tina Jordan
January 23, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Amateur Marriage

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Anne Tyler
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B-

Tyler loves to write about marriage, the bonds that wrap husband and wife as well as parent and child. Her words are so carefully chosen, her characters so polished, that the books sometimes take place, jewel-like, in a single day, or — in the case of ”Breathing Lessons” — a single conversation. But ”Marriage” lasts 30 years, all of them tedious. Michael and Pauline (he’s stolid, she’s flighty) never should have married in the first place, and despite the backdrop of postwar suburbia and their interesting kids, you don’t care about either of them. In popular fiction, that’s the kiss of death.

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