Indie Next ListJuly 2009
Rafael Yglesias tells the story of Enrique and Margaret Sabas, who is dying from cancer. The novel unfolds as we see her planning her goodbyes and death interspersed with the story of their courtship and long marriage. The novel captures the maturing of feelings, the issues around sex, and the frustrations of parenthood in such a way that I was riveted, entranced, and moved to -- and sometimes beyond -- tears. Absolutely brilliant. -- Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO
A Happy Marriage, Yglesias’s return to fiction after a thirteen-year hiatus, was inspired by his relationship with his wife, who died in 2004. Both intimate and expansive, it is a stunningly candid novel that alternates between the romantic misadventures of the first weeks of the courtship of Enrique Sabas and his wife Margaret and the final months of her life as she says good-bye to her family, friends, and children—and to Enrique. Spanning thirty years, this achingly honest story is about what it means for two people to spend a lifetime together—and what makes a happy marriage. “Anyone in a relationship will be able to relate,” said USA TODAY .
Told from the husband’s point of view, with revelatory and sometimes disarming candor, the novel charts the ebb and flow of marriage, illuminating both the mundane moments and the magic. Bold, elegiac, and emotionally suspenseful, Yglesias’s beautiful novel will break every reader’s heart—while encouraging all of us with its clear-eyed evocation of the enduring value of marital love.
About the Author
Rafael Yglesias is an American novelist and screenwriter. He dropped out of high school upon publication of his first novel in 1972 at age 17. He is the author of nine novels, including Dr. Neruda’s Cure For Evil and Fearless, which he adapted for the screen. He also wrote the screenplays for Death And The Maiden, Les Miserables, From Hell, and Dark Water. He has two grown sons and lives in New York’s Greenwich Village.
Praise for A Happy Marriage…
"[A] devastatingly raw appraisal of a nearly 30-year marriage...heart-wrenching." -- Publishers Weekly
"Rafael Yglesias's novel -- long and graceful and written to display an intimacy wincingly believable -- is about life, itself, not just one particular marriage. As the book alternates between past and present, we grow, along with the characters: as they jump boundaries, so do we; as they resign themselves to a sad inevitability, we feel viscerally cornered, too. It's a punch-in-the-stomach book, but the sharpness forces us to open our eyes wide. Impressive." -- Ann Beattie, author of Follies
"Yglesias mixes passion and pain in this deep and searing story of love. With unflinching honesty, he reveals the resilience of the human spirit in the face of illness and loss." -- Jerome Groopman, author of How Doctors Think
"A profound deliberation on the nature of love, marriage and the process of dying.... A tour de force... [Yglesias] has found the novel of his life." -- Dinitia Smith, New York Times
"Maybe marriage is the oldest story in the world, but in Mr. Yglesias' tender, funny, rueful telling, the lifelong relationship is the story of life itself." -- The Wall Street Journal
"Surprising and deeply affecting... A very brave book indeed." -- Nancy Connors, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
"Brave ... instantly compelling." -- Scott Muskin, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Beautiful... Yglesias is a superb and courageous writer.... [A] riveting portrait of enduring love, with all its grand imperfections." -- Karen Karbo, Bookforum
"Poignant and heartbreaking…. Anyone in a relationship will be able to relate.”—Craig Wilson, USA Today
“Enrique and Margaret are anything but common, distinct both as characters and in the endurance of their love.”—Malena Watrous, New York Times Book Review