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Download A Happy Marriage: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A Happy Marriage: A Novel Audiobook, by Rafael Yglesias
3.85 out of 53.85 out of 53.85 out of 53.85 out of 53.85 out of 5 3.85 (33 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Rafael Yglesias Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9781538464625
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Both intimate and expansive, Rafael Yglesias’ autobiographical new novel is the story of the relationship between Enrique Sabas and his wife, Margaret. Spanning thirty years, the novel alternates between the romantic misadventures of the first weeks of their courtship and the final months of Margaret’s life as she says good-bye to her family, friends, and children—and to Enrique.

Inspired by the author’s own marriage to his wife who died in 2004, this achingly honest story is about what it means for two people to spend a lifetime together—and what makes a happy marriage. Bold, elegiac, and emotionally suspenseful, Yglesias’ beautiful novel will break every reader’s heart, while encouraging all of us with its clear-eyed evocation of the enduring value of marriage.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A profound deliberation on the nature of love, marriage and the process of dying…A tour de force…[Yglesias] has found the novel of his life.”

    New York Times

  • “This is, fundamentally, the story of a happy marriage. But it’s not simple, because marriage—like love—isn’t static. And Enrique is ruthlessly honest in his quest to figure out what made his last…The mystery of what’s at the heart of a marriage can’t be unlocked, or even fully captured in words. But Enrique and Margaret are anything but common, distinct both as characters and in the endurance of their love.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Maybe marriage is the oldest story in the world, but in Mr. Yglesias’ tender, funny, rueful telling, the lifelong relationship is the story of life itself.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Will both touch and break hearts.”

    Marie Claire

  • “Brave…instantly compelling.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “I can’t think of many examinations of long-term marriages in modern novels, and that alone makes Rafael Yglesias’ surprising and deeply affecting new work stand out. What’s more, it’s clearly autobiographical, yet deals evenhandedly with deeply painful subjects, which makes it a very brave book indeed.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “[A] devastatingly raw appraisal of a nearly 30-year marriage...heart-wrenching.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Audie Award–winner Grover Gardner skillfully conveys the small and large tensions and drama that encapsulate this and most every other long-term relationship. For appreciators of literary fiction interested in more deeply exploring the subjects of relationships, cancer, death, and dying.”

    Library Journal

  • “Rafael Yglesias fictionalizes his own 27-year marriage (to writer Helen Yglesias) in this beautiful and wrenching novel. A Happy Marriage intersperses chapters recounting the courtship of Enrique Sabas and Margaret Cohen with those documenting Margaret’s death from bladder cancer. Enrique and Margaret are flawed (because aren’t we all?); he cheats, and she’s a control freak. Yet this is ultimately a happy union brought to an end by a disease that is described in graphic and sometimes-stomach-turning detail. Grover Gardner renders complex emotions to fine effect and rejects any temptation to infuse his narration with an inappropriate sentimentality. This is a stunning combination of clear-eyed writing and a compelling voice—prepare to be simultaneously uplifted and heartbroken. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • “[A] superb and courageous writer…Yglesias’ riveting portrait of enduring love, with all its grand imperfections, manages a tricky literary feat: warming your heart as he breaks it.”

    Bookforum

  • Winner of the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Selected for the July 2009 Indie Next List
  • A 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 2/1/2014

    " A painful book, but ultimately rewarding if you're up to facing some horrifying details to do with dying from cancer. The author alternates chapters about the couple's first meetings (and he uses his real wife's name, Margaret, who died recently of cancer) with chapters about the end of her life and theirs together. Although it's fiction and not autobiography, it felt very real to me, terribly honest, the characters complete and completely believable. I suspect that anyone who knows what a long marriage can be will find something familiar in here. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clara | 1/23/2014

    " A Happy Marriage is wrenching, painfully intimate and borderline offensive ("He had ordered her in." seriously?). The novel seems laudably honest (and is extremely well written, precise and exacting) yet never escapes the undercurrent of a voice seeking absolution, potentially deserved but nonetheless almost annoyingly plaintive (but hey, that's probably just my cynicism/lack of empathy coming through). Alternating between his first encounters with his wife in their twenties, and her deathbed (she is dying of bladder cancer) in their fifties, the protagonist Enrique is a devout husband, even in the midst of an infidelity; the tragedy is that only Margaret's death can offer a resolution. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa Currier | 1/17/2014

    " A sad book, very well written, semi-autobiographical. The chapters alternate bewtween now and how they met and their relationship progressed, spanning 30 years together. It chronicales the ups & downs of life. The chapters dealing wiht Margaret's illness and impending death were sometimes hard to read. How do you help someone plan their death and funeral? How do you say goodbye to your life partner? At times the authors writing style was too flowery and he could have used less words, but this was a very good book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Weston Ochse | 1/17/2014

    " I first heard of this during an interview on NPR. I listen to this station whenever I am not listening to music. I love the special programs regarding arts and literature. Rarely does NPR steer me wrong, as you will see later in this list. A Happy Marriage is not for the faint of heart. But if you want to read about love, real love, the kind of love where a man has to care for his wife during her last days of cancer, then this is your book. It's at once inspiring and depressing. But where it could be easily bogged down, Rafael uses flashbacks and forwards. He begins with both the beginning and the end of relationship, then works inwards towards the heart. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenn | 1/6/2014

    " Great writing. What "Where the River Ends" should have been. If you want to read a realistic story about a marriage at the end of the life of one of the spouses', please read this instead. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie H | 12/23/2013

    " Written so well but sooooooo sad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 11/27/2013

    " I found this to be a compelling read...the author did a good job going back and forth with vignettes about he and his wife in the early days of their relationship as well as the last week of her life. I heard him interviewed on "Fresh Air" and he said most of the story is based on his real life relationship with his wife, Margaret. There is a quote (which I can't remember verbatim) but the essence is how the presence of death obliterates chit-chat. That really got to me. People didn't talk to the author about "normal" things anymore and that alone must take a toll on a person. A good read if you are up for it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marie | 11/27/2013

    " Heartbreaking and realistic. Great book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rasa | 11/22/2013

    " I'm probably one of the very few that wasn't crazy about this book. I had it for 3 months and just can't get into it or bring myself to finish it. You know it's not good when you'd rather watch football with your hubby than read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly | 9/29/2013

    " Wonderful! Drank this one in long gulps. Didn't want to put it down. Definitely recommend it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jen S | 3/21/2013

    " I feel like this book was more about his penis than it was about their marriage. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan Greef | 2/14/2013

    " heartbreaking and redemptive, well written. I felt it never really got to the why of how this marriage worked. It is all too obvious by the end that it does work, and that is is/was a happy marriage, and we get a lot of looks at the beginning and the end, but what happened in the middle? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 7/23/2012

    " The saddest and most beautiful story I've read about imperfect love in recent memory. Can't recommend it enough. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 claudia | 7/19/2012

    " Not for the faint-hearted, but very good "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 7/2/2012

    " Beautiful, sad and honest. Detailed his wife dying of cancer interspersed with scenes of when they first met. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monica | 6/24/2012

    " Heartfelt, gripping memoir written as a novel with the author recounting the highs and lows of his marriage to his wife as she lies dying of stomach cancer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rose | 2/3/2012

    " This book resonated for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ruth Glen | 1/22/2012

    " Emotionally suspenseful, loved the ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pat | 9/28/2011

    " Although a novel this is a raw, yet loving look back on a marriage as the wife is enduring treatment for cancer. Likely many autobiographical threads from the author whose long marriage ended with the death of his wife from cancer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz Dean | 7/7/2011

    " One of the best books I read in 2009. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jayna | 4/13/2011

    " This one is hard for me to "score". I did like it, but I found the author to be a bit too self-serving in his narratives and quite a bit TMI with his private life! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cristianne | 3/28/2011

    " I was disappointed with the ending, but otherwise loved this book. It had in me in tears a few times, but my friends know I love a good depressing novel :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 3/28/2011

    " This is honestly the saddest book that I've ever read - ever. It has a good story and you definitely feel and understand how the characters feel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 3/1/2011

    " Top 5 best books ever... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/23/2011

    " Pretty good book. Interesting relationship between husband and wife. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 2/20/2011

    " This book was a bit too long and a bit too morbid. It shifts between the present where the main character Enrique must say goodbye to his wife Margaret and the past to when he first meets her. The story is very long and drawn out. While the writing is well done, it dragged on a bit. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kris | 2/11/2011

    " annoying characters -- and I hope to find there's more to life than sex and death... not at all what I expected... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jill | 2/10/2011

    " I'm grateful to Mr. Yglesias for writing this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeannie | 2/8/2011

    " A brutally honest journey of a husband helping his wife of twenty nine years navigate her final days and his unflinching look at their life together. These characters will stay with you a long time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellen | 2/5/2011

    " This was not quite what I was expecting. It's very sad, in several ways, but I still enjoyed the characters honesty. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gillian | 1/26/2011

    " An amazingly honest inside view of a relationship/marriage. Definitely not a perfect one by any means and there are no answers to "what makes a happy marriage?" but overall a beautiful read. I loved the prose - very poetic writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marielle | 1/18/2011

    " A very close look into a marriage - sometimes happy, sometimes not. And, a touching good-bye. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kaye | 1/13/2011

    " Wonderful, painful book, caused a lot of reliving of losing a spouse to cancer, beautifully constructed and honest book "

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About the Author
Author Rafael Yglesias

Rafael Yglesias is an American novelist and screenwriter. He dropped out of high school upon publication of his first novel in 1972 at age seventeen. He was married to Margaret from 1977 until her death in 2004. He is the author of nine novels, including Dr. Neruda’s Cure for Evil and Fearless, which he adapted for the screen. He has two grown sons and lives in New York’s Greenwich Village.

About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.