Marriage and the City

Andrew Sean Greer’s slim, delicate new novel, The Story of a Marriage, has a few head-slapping revelations that’ll make you rethink everything you’ve read. We’re not going to disclose them – the New York Times already did that. But careful readers, which we are not, should pay heed to the opening line: "We think we know the ones we love." The revelations aren’t on the level of Fight Club, to be sure, but we like feeling even a little dumbstruck.

Like The Confessions of Max Tivoli, Marriage takes a big bite out of history, from WWII to the present, with most of the action taking place in mid-century San Francisco, way out in the Sunset District. It is indeed the story of a ‘50s marriage, full of sacrifices and silences and slow-burning passion, but it’s just as much about the era, when social, racial, and political issues were roiling beneath the calm surface, preparing to erupt. We love the way Greer writes about the city. In Marriage he’s very restrained, revealing just enough to make you pine for how much has been lost, but the amusement park at Ocean Beach and Marin’s “Rose Bowl” dance venue, where redwoods poked through the floor, get fawned over.
Thu., June 12, 7 p.m., 2008

 
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