The arithmetic of marriage is never easy to understand—as time passes, the variables constantly change
Caroline is set adrift in 1950s Rome when she meets Ivan. Though things start slowly, Ivan wins her over after a strong pursuit, and the two marry, agreeing never to inflict any “irreparable wounds.” But though Ivan proves to be a fine father, he is a distant husband, and Caroline finds herself daydreaming of other men. So as the years pass, the couple finds ways to bend but not break their cardinal rule. Rough Strife, the first novel from Lynne Sharon Schwartz, was nominated for the National Book Foundation Award. In this sensational debut, Schwartz depicts a marriage that grows painfully into the modern era, despite the changes—both political and personal—that challenge it.