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A New York Times Book of the Year
'One of the most emotionally truthful novels I have ever read' DAISY BUCHANAN
'Almost every line glows with even-handed wisdom - a superb novel, beautifully put together' DAILY MAIL
'An invaluably moving book' JULIET NICOLSON
'One to read first for the story and then to re-read at leisure and marvel at how real these people feel' ERIN KELLY
'Penetrating, intelligent, humane, funny too ... Smart and powerfully alive' TESSA HADLEY
Annie is not the first love of Graham's life but she is, he thinks, his last and greatest. Very recently, he has faltered; but he means to put it right.
Here they are in marriage, in late middle age, in comfort. Mismatched, and yet so well matched: the bookseller with his appetite, his conviviality, his bigness; the photographer with her delicacy, her astuteness, her reserve. The children are offstage, grown up and scattered on either coast; Graham's first wife, Frieda, is peaceably in their lives, but not between them.
Then the unthinkable happens. Now Annie stumbles in the dark: did she know all there was to know about the man who loved her? If no marriage is without its small indiscretions, how great does a betrayal have to be to be to break it?
A novel about marriage, family, secrets and love, Monogamy confirms Sue Miller's place among the greatest writers at work in America today.
Miller (The Arsonist) delivers a robust, character-driven examination of the inner workings of a lengthy marriage. Domestic tranquility quickly totters into roiling turmoil as photographer Annie McFarlane struggles with grief after the sudden death of Graham, her bookstore-owning husband of almost 30 years. When Annie met Graham on the opening night of his shop in Harvard Square, each was coming off a disastrous first marriage. Annie never really loved Alan, a handsome preppy filled with contempt for others, including her, and she left him. Graham's first marriage was an open one ("It had been that era"), but his prodigious affairs were too much for Frieda, who left him with their young son. Frieda and Graham remained friends after their divorce, "leading to the lasting complexity of their entwined lives." Annie feels "doubly betrayed" when she learns that Graham had confided in Frieda about a recent affair. The novel takes on various configurations, swelling with recovered memories of childhood experiences and crackling with revelations of seductive temptations at an artist's colony. Annie swirls through bitterness and missed opportunities on her way to an acceptance of a "new sorrow," while Graham's Rabelaisian, larger-than-life personality is felt even in his absence. The novel is grounded by vibrant prose, vividly portrayed secondary characters, and the resiliency of everlasting love. Miller's fans will devour this spectacular, powerful return.