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The Newlyweds [Kindle Edition]

Nell Freudenberger
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Genuinely moving . . . Freudenberger demonstrates her assurance as a novelist and her knowledge of the complicated arithmetic of familial love, and the mathematics of romantic passion (The New York Times)

It's really, really good...A luscious and intelligent novel that will stick with you (National Public Radio)

A convincing and rather compelling story of a very modern marriage and a real heroine to root for (Daily Mail)

A delight, one of the easiest book recommendations of the year . . . Freudenberger knows Amina as well as Jane Austen knows Emma, and despite its globe-spanning set changes, The Newlyweds offers a reading experience redolent of Janeite charms: gentle touches of social satire, subtly drawn characters and dialogue that expresses far more than its polite surface (Washington Post)

Took off like a rocket, taking me with it (The Times)

A big, complicated portrait of marriage, culture, family, and love. Freudenberger never settles for an easy answer, and what she delivers is a story that feels absolutely true. Every minute I was away from this book I was longing to be back in the world she created (Ann Patchett, author of 'State of Wonder')

A wonderful, funny, inventive novel that takes you slowly by surprise the more you read. Highly recommended (Red (Book of the Month))

The intrigue and small disappointments of marriage are painstakingly captured. (Psychologies)

A Fresh and modern look at relationships, told with heart. (Elle)

A charming and serious tale of marriage, family and identity. Its prose style is intimate, almost conspiratorial... threading its arm around the reader confidently. The writing is clear and spare... yet Freudenberger's investigation into what makes relationships work... is complex and sophisticated... Freudenberger approaches her subject with great sensitivity, a heavy sense of the seriousness of life - and much wry humour. (Independent on Sunday)

There are some piercing cultural observations... the chapters zip along with purpose and the novel flits effortlessly between the false intimacy of suburban America and the closely knit gossipy communities of Dhaka (Independent)

A powerful sense of empathy, of being able to imagine what it is to be soemone else, to feel what someone else feels (Mohsin Hamid)

This classic tale of missed chances, crushing errors of judgment, and scarring sacrifices, all compounded by cultural differences, is perfectly pitched, piercingly funny, and exquisitely heartbreaking (Booklist starred review)

Wise, timely, ripe with humour and complexity, The Newlyweds is one of the most believable love stories of our young century (Gary Shteyngart, author of 'Super Sad True Love Story')

That Amina and George manage to muddle though the first years of marriage is a testament to the power of love and respect; that we care about them all the way through says as much about Freudenberger's keen observations and generous heart (O, The Oprah Magazine)

Freudenberger, a deliciously precise and perceptive writer, loosely based Amina on a woman she met on an airplane, and when she describes Amina's recognition 'that the permanent part of your own experience' is largely an illusion, we can only be glad they struck up what must have been a helluva conversation (Elle Magazine)

Dazzling (Entertainment Weekly)

The Newlyweds is about all sorts of complex relationships: between parents and children; with first loves; with the places we depart and those we adopt...Freudenberger does an especially lovely job creating Amina's worlds - her emotional terrain, her wonder and bewliderment (Seattle Times) is an honest depiction of life as most people actually live it: Americans and Asians, Christians and Muslims, liberals and conservatives. Freudenberger writes with a cultural fluency that is remarkable and a prose that is clean, intelligent, and very witty (David Bezmozgis, author of 'The Free World')

A true triumph...Freudenberger's masterful prose makes comprehensible how someone can become a stranger in two places at once (Richard Ford New York Observer)

Prose as warm and refreshing as a Californian morning (Evening Standard)

Like Lahiri, Franzen and Eugenides, Freudenberger excels at chronicling her characters' emotional lives and world views (San Francisco Chronicle)

Captivating (Boston Globe)


“Surprising . . . riveting. [The Newlyweds] succeeds based on Freudenberger’s uncanny ability to feel her way inside Amina’s skin as she takes courageous, self-sacrificing steps toward realizing her dream. Caught between two worlds, Amina begins to know herself and to understand the inevitable limits of her choices. . . . For all its global sophistication, the most remarkable accomplishment of this hugely satisfying novel is Freudenberger’s subtle exploration of the stage of adulthood at the heart of The Newlyweds, and all the compromises with selfhood those early years of love and marriage entail.” —Jane Ciabattari, Los Angeles Times

“The union at the heart of Freudenberger’s gentle new novel is not of the Cupid’s arrow bliss the title evokes. George and Amina’s marriage, though not lacking in affection, is more of a leap of faith than most. . . . The Newlyweds is about all sorts of complex relationships: between parents and children; with first loves; with the places we depart and those we adopt, and ‘the many selves’ this fluidity creates. Freudenberger does an especially lovely job creating Amina’s worlds—her emotional terrain, her wonder and bewilderment adjusting to America, her life in Bangladesh.”  —Agnes Torres Al-Shibibi, The Seattle Times

“A merging of lives, a collision of cultures—these themes are at the heart of Freudenberger’s fine second novel . . . Amina Mazid ‘meets’ George Stillman on a dating website. He’s 10 years older, looking to get married and start a family. She dreams of a better life in America. After nearly a year of corresponding online, George travels to Amina’s home village to meet her family, and they become engaged. Yet both hide secrets that will complicate their relationship. By the following spring, they’re living together in Rochester. Several aspects of Amina’s new life prove puzzling: American megastores, such as WalMart and Bed, Bath and Beyond, overwhelm her. In conversation, she doesn’t understand the concept of sarcasm. And she has no idea what a snooze button is. Yet Freudenberger doesn’t simply trace cultural misunderstandings on an amusing or superficial level. She delves into more serious issues between Amina and George. . . .The Newlyweds crosses continents, cultures and generations. . . . It’s funny, gracefully written and full of loneliness and yearning. It’s also a candid, recognizable story about love—the real-life kind, which is often hard and sustained by hope, kindness, and pure effort.” —Carmela Ciuraru, USA Today 
“A lonely man in upstate New York decides that American women don’t suit him, so he takes to the Internet. Half a world away in Bangladesh, a determined young woman posts an ad on a matchmaking site for Western men and Asian women. They’re George and Amina, the newlyweds in the second novel from Freudenberger, decorated by The New Yorker and Granta as a promising young fictionnaire. You may think you know how this story goes, but as they say on Facebook, it’s complicated. As Amina cautiously shapes a life in her new country of Starbucks and suburbs, she and her spouse stubbornly resist settling into cliché. Freudenberger’s central couple are more than well-crafted characters; they shimmer with believability and self-contradicting nuance. . . . As the tale traces their tumultuous first years together, George and Amina’s union is revealed as hardly standard, but at once idiosyncratic and universal. . . . Fluid and utterly confident.” —Allison Williams, Time Out New York (four stars)
“A true triumph . . . Freudenberger’s most successful book yet. The Newlyweds’ s appealing protagonist, Amina, is a young, slender Bengali (e)mail order bride who grew up in and around Dhaka. The novel follows her to Rochester, NY, where she meets her fiancé George, learns the meaning of words like ‘dumbstruck’ and how to shovel snow, and gets a job at a sales clerk at a store called MediaWorks. Where Freudenberger excels is in her understanding of familial love and the comical side of learning to live in a foreign land . . . Amina is unpretentious, a character who shares a common language with the reader. Her perceptions of her new life are inflected by her unfamiliarity with America, and those of her past in Dhaka are brought to life in an angry vividness. Freudenberger’s masterful prose makes comprehensible how someone can become a stranger in two places at once.” —Michael Woodsmall, New York Observer

“Captivating . . . Freudenberger’s latest novel explores the unexpected consequences when two distinct cultures collide. . . . This engaging story, with its page after page of effortless prose, ultimately offers up a deeper narrative of the protagonist’s yearning.” —S. Kirk Walsh, The Boston Globe 
“After Amina Mazid of Bangladesh meets George Stillman of Rochester, NY, on a dating site, she leaves everything that is familiar and travels across the world to become his wife. Freudenberger shows us Amina in all her complexity: ambitious, devoted, intelligent, ambivalent and, when alone with George, sexually curious . . . Amina and George keep secrets from each other that threaten their fragile bond, and the author takes her time letting them unfold. The relationship between reader and writer is always something of an arranged marriage, in the sense that the reader enters a stranger’s sensibility, hoping for the best. Amina and George may have a complicated connection, but Newlyweds is an unambiguous success.” —Meg Wolitzer, More Magazine

“Evocative . . . From the time she broke into The New Yorker at age 26 with her first-ever published short story, Freudenberger has been regarded as a heavyweight literary phenom. . . . The latest feather in [her] cap is The Newlyweds. It’s really, really good. As always, [she] is fascinated by culture clash, here encapsulated in the marriage of a young woman from Bangladesh and an American engineer from Rochester, New York, who’s 10 years her senior. This is not a love match. Lonely George wants a family; Amina recognizes that her aging parents’ security depends on her making a good marriage, particularly since her father is something of a Bengali Willy Loman. . . . [But] The Newlyweds is so much more than a ‘lost-in-translation’ romp: There are soulful depths to the sociology. Both Amina and George had been in love with other people before they resorted to international computer dating and the novel, which roams in a twisting, lavish storyline between America and Bangladesh, explores the strong and sometimes disastrous pull of those earlier attachments. The Newlyweds also tackles the promise of America and the payment—practical and psychic—it demands of immigrants. . . . [A] luscious and intelligent novel that will stick with you. . . . Freudenberger keep[s] the wonderfulness coming.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR

“Freudenberger returns to the theme of cultural identity through the story of a 24-year-old Bangladeshi who leaves her native country and religious circle to marry an American whom she met online. Settling in Rochester, New York, Amina’s happiness is elusive. . . . When [she] makes her first visit back home, she finds her relatives critical of her. It forces Amina to think about how being part of a close-knit group can be oppressive—and leads readers to consider the conflict between the weight of family obligations and individual desires. Through Amina, Freudenberger explores how technology and the global economy have changed marriage and religion, and raises questions about the limits of cultural adaptation. Freudenberger has also created an unforgettable character: Amina’s determination, intelligence, and resilience make her a heroine for any culture and any time.” —Emily Witt, Marie Claire
“A modern-day variety of arranged marriage. George and Amina, the husband and wife of The Newlyweds, have met on the matchmaking website . . . [But] Freudenberger is doing much more here than writing an exposé of the tawdry system of mail-order brides. . . . Amina, through whose eyes the story is told, is intelligent and self-sufficient—she works a retail job even as she takes care of the house and studies for her citizenship exam. Parts of The Newlyweds might be about the learning curve faced by any freshly married couple—in Amina’s most trenchant line, she says to George: ‘At first we were puzzle pieces. Now we are the puzzle.’ But the marriage is still founded on an essential inequality, and The Newlyweds is quietly damning in showing how George almost unthinkingly exploits the power that comes with having money. Amina feels herself being subtly molded into the kind of spouse—pragmatic and low-maintenance—that George would like her to be . . . The distance between Amina’s American self and her Bangladeshi self is perceptively explored by Freudenberger. Like writers such as Jhumpa Lahiri and Ha Jin, she deftly shows how strange the rituals of suburban America seem to an observant outsider.” —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal 
“Once certain borders are crossed, it’s impossible to truly go home again—or so finds Amina, the intrepid young Bangladeshi e-mail-order bride at the center of Freudenberger’s quietly compelling second novel. Arriving in suburban Rochester to start a life with her engineer husband, the cautiously game Amina embarks on a new life filled with curious challenges—balancing college classes wit...


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1105 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 354 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 0307268845
  • Verlag: Vintage (1. Mai 2012)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B0067TGUDE
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #240.623 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Beeindruckend - Berührend - Authentisch 18. Dezember 2012
Von Monalise
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Mich hat dieses Buch berührt weil es realistisch und teils auch einfach nüchtern über ein Migrantinnenleben bzw. -schicksal berichtet. Der Einblick auf eine nicht nur binationale sondern auch eine bikulturelle Beziehung, Asien - Muslima - Kollektivismus gegenüber Amerika - Kapitalismus - Individualismus, hauptsächlich aus dem Blickwinkel der Migrantin aus Bangladesh geschildert, Gleichzeitig geht es ganz subtil um eine Liebesgeschichte - die allerdings kein Happy End hat. Auch gefallen hat mir der Einblick in das Familienleben in Bangladesh.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.3 von 5 Sternen  132 Rezensionen
104 von 112 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Unconvincing and, in many ways, incomplete. 23. März 2012
Von Liat2768 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
The story, from the small blurb on my reader's edition, initially seems an intriguing one. An inter-racial, inter-national, inter-religious couple falls in love on-line and, once married, sorts out what marriage is all about. However, characterizing this book as a" richly observed story of love and marriage" seems to me to be a gross misrepresentation. This is not a book about marriage; it is a book about one particular, marriage which is mostly a side note to the story of a determined woman's desire to bring herself and her parents to live in the 'First World'. Love for each other plays a very small part in the actions of the two partners.

I found the first quarter of the book to be the weakest due to a very evident lack of research. The author's non Bangla background comes through very strongly in the depiction of the main character's motivations, speech, familial expectations, etc. which sound completely American. I felt that the author did not really get into the head of her Bangladeshi heroine who, supposedly, was still close to her roots in the village. Cross cultural differences (beyond just speaking English mildly differently) are not explored and the dialogue among the Bangladeshi family could belong to an American drawing room. Amina's parents' support for her plan to find a husband online (so that all of them can emigrate to the US), their willingness to send her overseas with a man they have only met for a week and the fact that a fiancée visa to the US was arranged within a week was mindboggling.

Amina's arrival in the US is a casual event. It is as if she just moved from one state to another - or switched from Europe to the US. Yes small differences pop up but for the most part it is smooth sailing. If there is a shocking effect on people from the US when they visit third world countries, things are equally shocking going the other way. The author misses the chance to explore the trauma of immigration and instead casually points out a few differences as if she is sprinkling in anecdotes heard from real immigrants to try and make the book more believable.

What the author does initially try to do is explore the fact that this is a marriage between two people of different faiths. Islam, however, is an encroaching threat in this book and something that Amina promptly pushes out of her life in the US. George's promised conversion to Islam falls by the wayside and the exploration of their differences in religion fizzles out quickly. Amina seems to only encounter flat one dimensional Americans without layers of personality. Kim is a stereotypical hippie, yogi, backpacker; Cathy's character is a a depository of all things ignorant and intolerant, her co workers are never fully drawn in and George - well, George is so mildly drawn as to be non existent!

Where the author really hits her stride is in the last quarter of the book where the marriage (and pathetic George) fade in to the background and Amina returns to Bangladesh to bring her parents back to the US. Her longing for the old and familiar, even if it is dangerous and filthy, will speak to any emigrant. The beauty of the Bangladeshi countryside is all the more obvious to her for her knowledge that she may never see it again. While the old traditions make family life so constrained and always open to criticism, she compares it to the loneliness of living in the US and questions which way is better.

However, the tension created at the end is not enough to save the book. Amina's wishy washy attitude towards her own marriage, inconsistencies in the text, threads that are begun and then lost and Amina's very confusing hopes regarding her cousin made the book seem almost unfinished when it finally ended. My biggest question was not what happened to Amina, or her parents but what happened to George? His character was the least developed in the book. We barely get a glimpse at him, physical, psychological or in dialogue. He ends up being background music to Amina's waltz through life and his desires, hopes and dreams always take the back seat. His grand deception seems more like dirty laundry compared to what Amina is planning. Vague but always supportive, stereotypical but mostly harmless he ended up being the one I could sympathize with instead of Amina who only came across as a scheming green card hunter of the worst kind. George's only importance in her life seemed to be as a source of income and a way to get her citizenship.

In brief, this is not a book about marriage - it is about how marriage can be used as a means to an end.
29 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Complicated multi-cultural marriage 26. März 2012
Von asiana - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Dhaka, Bangladesh is home to Amina Mazid until she starts an on-line relationship with George Stillman, who lives in Rochester, New York. Although each has something hidden in their pasts, Amina, with the blessing of her parents, moves to what she thinks will bring her a happier life than what she's experiencing in Dhaka.

The novel is interesting in showing how the cultural differences between the young couple invite both laughter and anger, but I cannot imagine Bangladeshi parents encouraging their only child to emigrate and marry a non-Muslim man about whom she knows very little.

There are many characters in this book, but none of them became "real" to me, including Amina and George and the storyline was akin to a poor TV soap opera. The winding alleyways, the crowded shops, the smells of the Bangladeshi markets never became alive nor did the small city ways of Rochester. It is an OK novel, but nothing special.
17 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Despite some well-written prose, there was not much real substance. 2. April 2012
Von bert1761 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
I was very enthusiastic about "The Newlyweds" as I began reading it. Nell Freudenberger can certainly turn a phrase and make you stop and think... and frequently laugh. Also, the initial chapters about the development of the relationship between Amina and George and her acclimation to the US and their acclimation to each other started out as interesting.

But something happened along the way and these to characters -- as well as the huge host of supporting characters -- seemed to become increasingly less compelling and less believable. Moreover, the plot line revolving around Amina's father introduced into the second half of the book seemed unnecessary and reduced the act of reading to a slog, which is ironic as I believe much of this part of the story was intended to be suspenseful.

At the end of the book, I didn't really care how any of the storylines resolved themselves or about any of the characters; I was mostly just glad to be finished. And given the strong start to the book, this result was particularly disappointing.
43 von 54 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen First rate family drama 21. März 2012
Von moose_of_many_waters - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
From a modest premise - a Bangladeshi woman comes to America to wed her online match - Nell Freudenberger has created a poignant, vividly drawn drama of how couples live today. I can't vouch for whether the cultural details are accurate - my exposure to Bangladesh consists of having one Bangladeshi employee and working in the country for a very strange week - but the emotional interactions ring true. Amina is a bright woman whose dreams may seem modest by American standards, but for someone coming from her near-destitute background they are indeed "reaching for the stars". How she goes about trying to achieve her dreams - quietly, stubbornly, and pragmatically - makes this story shine.

Freudenberger has managed to create a world that, while quotidian in its essence, is still fascinating to observe. She's filled it with fully three-dimensional characters who for the most part have no great illusions of their place in the world. In their own messy way, they try to make the best of their lives. The Newlyweds doesn't try to grab you with poetic prose or heightened drama. It's a sly book that works by providing the reader a window as to how ordinary people live. The events that transpire are often filled with disappointment and if you're looking for a hope conquers all kind of story you won't find it here. If I have any qualms about this book, it's in the portrait of the husband, George. While I know many electrical engineers and many are in fact as wooden as George, it would have been more interesting if he wasn't quite so typical and had some real emotional range.

Nell Freudenberger is a first rate talent who well deserves the praise she's received (and will undoubtedly receive from this novel when it comes out). It may be that she is more of a "writer's writer" than someone who will ever find a major audience. There is a level of detail and richness in this subtle book that is rare and exemplary.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Disappointing 4. Juni 2012
Von Jane - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
I received this book through the Amazon Vine program. I had decided to request it primarily because I had read that it is set in Rochester, New York. I live in Rochester.

While the character of Amina is fairly well developed -- you understand her motivations and desires -- but you still get the feeling that she is not quite real. In some ways, her husband's cousin Kim seems more real than Amina. The husband, George, is just a sketch. The dialogue seems lifeless. There is only one place in the entire novel where the exchange between George and Amina seemed to have some blood and some life. (spoiler ahead). Amina and George have been married in the US but they have not been married in a mosque or the International Center as they had planned. It has just been allowed to slide. Amina is working on a plan to bring her parents to Rochester but it will be eight months until they can get their Visas and make the journey. Amina decides that she and George will be married at the International Center when her parents arrive so that they can be there and witness it. Until then, she tells George that she will no longer sleep with him. (There are other reasons for her deciding on this defacto separation but revealing them would give away too much of the story). George is reluctantly willing to comply but at one point he protests the arrangement, "For God's sake, we're married." Amina responds "Your God. Not mine."

Reading "The Newlyweds", I recalled another novel with a similar theme: Com Toibin's "Brooklyn." In this novel a young woman travels from Ireland to Brooklyn, not to marry but to find work. There are many similarities in the themes but "Brooklyn" is a far better novel. Read that one instead of this one.
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