Book Bulletin ~ Matrimony, Joshua Henkin

I am about eighty pages into Matrimony by Joshua Henkin and I’m not yet sure how I feel about it.  Right now it’s a little loose and it’s just going along; from what I know so far I don’t have a a clue as to what will happen next or how these characters will end up.  I figure at some point someone will get married, since this is Matrimony after all.

Two guys, Julian and Carter, come from different worlds but reluctantly become friends in college at the prompting of their curmudgeonly Creative Writing professor.  They start dating Mia and Pilar, respectively, during their freshman year and manage to maintain their relationships throughout their senior year in college, where they are all trying to figure out their next steps; and that’s about where I’m at right now.  I’m interested enough in the story , and I don’t know if that’s because I have heard such good things about it, that I want  to keep reading, but I am a little disturbed at how insular the characters are.  They move into  a commune, where the couples live next door to each other, and so far not a single person who lives there, outside of the foursome, have been mentioned; and none of them seem to have any other friends beside each other. It’s a little weird.  The only place where other students are present is in the writing class the boys took together freshman year. 

So far I don’t feel I’ve gotten to know either of the boys that well.  I feel like I know their types, but don’t really know them.  But there are some places where there is a nice characterization of Julian , like with the dogs that he walks and the Korean couple that he gets to know at the vegetable market he frequents.  I am starting to get to know Mia a little as her world gets turned upside down.  So far, she seems to be the most fully developed character.  So we’ll see.

I’ll end with a sentence I enjoyed.

The babies lay like take-out orders beneath the warm lights, the boys with blue hats, the girls with pink ones, everything determined already; Mia, hating this, swore that if she ever had a baby she’d have the pinkest boy in the world, she’d have the bluest girl.

I like the image of babies as take out, and the use of the semi-colon (j/k).

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