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Lists: Twelve Books that Talk About Marriage

7th March, 2017

Book Lists :Twelve Books that Talk about Marriage

Marriages are made in heaven. Or are they? Here are twelve books that talk about marriage.

Someone at a distance by Dorothy Whipple

1. Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple

I adored the read. It was a Heart wrenching Tale of Choices, a Marriage and Two Women. This is the story of an ordinary family torn apart by the entry of a French woman named Louise. Whipple’s masterful writing engages the reader in an emotional turmoil throughout the novel.

The book was a favourite reads of 2016 (Part 1) and also made it to my list of  Ten Books that Crashed on me like a Tidal Wave – Its Personal .

A Lady and her Husband by Amber Reeves

2. A Lady and her Husband by Amber Reeves

Another wonderful read from Persephone Books. I immensely enjoyed the novel by Amber Reeves that talks about ‘finding your place in a man’s world.’ When Mary’s children are grown up and left home to lead their own lives, she decides to venture out of the four walls of her comfortable home and see the world outside. She is met with shocking realities that question her place both in the society and household. The book made it to my Favourite books in the Second Half of 2016.

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

3. Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

Swimming Lessons, published in 2017, is an amazing portrayal of marriage. I will be putting up a review soon. I absolutely adored the novel. A part of the novel is written in the form of novels from Ingrid, who disappeared years ago, to her husband. Each letter, hidden in a book, reveals a bit more about the love between the couple, the marriage and the secrets between them. A page turner for sure.

Wife by Meg Wolitzer

4. The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

“The moment I decided to leave him, the moment I thought, enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean, hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquility. Just like our marriage.”

Those are the opening lines of the novel. Wow!

Light years by James Salter

5. Light Years by James Salter

The story of Nedra and Viri, whose life is centered around dinners, ingenious games with their children, enviable friends, and near-perfect days passed skating on a frozen river or sunning on the beach. But even as he lingers over the surface of their marriage, Salter lets us see the fine cracks that are spreading through it, flaws that will eventually mar the lovely picture beyond repair. (from Goodreads blurb)

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

6. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Yet another book that made it to my Favourite reads in the Second Half of 2016. Written in two parts in the POV of the husband (Fates) and the wife (Furies), this is a story of looking back on a near perfect marriage and the imperfections in it. I found the novel to be ‘unsettling and surprising‘ when I reviewed it.

To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

7. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Though marriage is only one of the many themes of the novel, Woolf lingers for a great while to introduce the reader to the marriage between Mr and Mrs. Ramsay. We see how Mrs. Ramsay singlehandedly hold the whole family together while her husband is more of an attention demanding person who needs to be frequently pacified and praised about his work.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

8. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

Set in the Jazz age, Z is the story of the acclaimed novelist Scott Fitzgerald and his witty, perhaps scandalous wife, Zelda. The novel is more of who Zelda really is other than the wife of the famous novelist. But there are glimpses into the marriage.

Desperate characters by Paula Fox

9. Desperate Characters by Paula Fox

Otto and Sophie lead a very comfortable life in Brooklyn. When Sophie is bitten on the hand while trying to feed a stray cat, a series of small unfortunate events begin to plague the Bentwoods’ lives. And this prises open the truths in their marriage and in society.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

10. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Commonwealth is the story of two families, Cousins and Keatings. When Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited and kisses Franny’s mother, it results in the dissolution of two marriages. But the six kids start to have a special relationship among themselves.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

11. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway, the novelist, embark on a courtship that ends in marriage and sets sail for Paris. They are part of the Lost Generation that includes Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein.  The couple begins to face crisis in their married life. This book would be a perfect accompaniment for Z: A novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.

This Must be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

12. This Must be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

Daniel Sullivan is a  New Yorker living in Ireland. His kids are in California, he has a father in Brooklyn with whom he is on bad terms with and his wife, Claudette is an ex-film star. When he finds out something about a woman with whom he lost touch with, does the marriage suffer or does he stay with Claudette?

Let's discuss

Have you read any of these or are they on your TBR? Do you know other books that focus on marriage to add to this list?

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This Post Has 35 Comments
  1. Interesting list. I’ve read To the Lighthouse, Z, and The Paris Wife, and I want to read This Must Be the Place and Swimming Lessons. I’m trying to think of any books to add to this list, but of course none come to mind at the moment.

  2. Swimming Lessons, Z and The Paris Wife are on my TBR. Also – beautiful pics as always. Your photos always have this incredible calm to them that almost no one else on Bookstagram has. Which is why it’s such a delight for me. You are truly an example.

    I’m trying to think of other books about marriage. I can’t say The Snow Child is directly about marriage, but I think it is in big part, at least as a secondary plot. Deathless as well, although in a completely different way.
    And why can’t I ever think of any other books when it comes to remembering plots 😀

  3. I simply just love the idea of creating a list of books recommendations, who is about marriages. There is not a lot of such themes out there. I found it very inspiring and I have already added a lot of the books you have listed to my tbr.

  4. Just added a few of these to my list of Literary Wives possibilities -thanks! We’ve just read The Wife, and our next read is Z: A Novel. A Lady and Her Husband is on our list for next year sometime. Love books about marriage!

    1. That is great Naomi. I will look forward to what you think about A Lady and her husband. It was one of my favourite reads of last year. I really want to read the Zelda Fitzgerald novel.

  5. I’ve shied away from books on marriage previously since I thought I couldn’t relate to them. However the longer I am in my long term relationship the more I want to explore it on a fictional term. Especially since a lot of fiction is fixated on the chase and not the period of commitment. Thanks for the recs and for compiling this list!!

  6. The only one I’ve read for sure is Woolf’s (wasn’t her Night and Day also about marriage?) and I might have read the Dorothy Whipple but I lose track of her books. A couple more one could add: Susan Ferrier’s classic, Marriage, Elizabeth Taylor’s Blaming, and Kim Thuy’s Man. Most of the books you’ve included are on my TBR and I’m especially keen on the James Salter, having read some letters of his last summer.

    1. Thank you for the recommendations. I want to explore Elizabeth Taylor in the next few years. So I will keep Blaming in mind. I have not read Night and Day, but I will be picking it up one of these days.

  7. I remember reading a lot of marriage books early last year that I had to find other books to read because it was getting a bit heartbreaking at times! The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett explores marriages as well (very interesting and I highly recommend — it has the marriage of the two main characters and their marriages to other people, as it involves their story in three different narratives), and Us by David Nicholls was another marriage book that irritated the hell out of me. I think this is why I held of with Fates and Furies because I felt like I was already reading too much about marriages!


  8. Great list! I’ve just finished reading ‘A Moveable Feast’ by Ernest Hemingway, which is a memoir of his life in Paris in the 1920’s in which his marriage with Hadley Richardson is subtly evoked. I think it would be a good complementary reading to ‘The Paris Wife’! Another novel about marriage that I really like is ‘Freedom’ by Jonathan Franzen.

    1. Thank you! I wonder how I forgot that one in the list. I have not read it. I want to explore Eugenides because everyone says he is such a wonderful writer. I will be reading The Virgin Suicides first and then perhaps the book you mentioned.

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