There are few books that I anticipate will leave as great an imprint as Jones’ An American Marriage. The novel tells the heart-wrenching story of Celestial and Roy – it’s about love but also about loss.
An American Marriage also features another protagonist, Andre, who is Celestial’s childhood friend and a friend of Roy’s from college. The perspective switches between the three of them enabling them to share their own version of key events.
Real challenges emerge less than a year into the marriage of Celestial and Roy when they travel to visit Roy’s parents in Eloe, Louisiana. Here, Roy is accused of a crime he did not commit. He is arrested, tried and sentenced to 12 years in prison for raping a woman in a hotel.
Throughout the novel, secrets are uncovered as Celestial and Roy write to each other. His incarceration and absence, however, causes colossal shifts in both their relationship and their lives.
Weaved into An American Marriage are important lessons and anecdotes. Celestial is a defiant character and her strong opinions particularly around marriage are significant. However, Jones has created strong personalities in all of them. Through her characters, she powerfully comments on American society and human behaviour.
This is an important work which explores the complexities of love, marriage and family. It is a story of injustice and society that you will not forget.