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A 'Marriage', A Divorce, A Dying Dog And Essays Done Right.

Essay collections are underrated and often ignored in favor of short stories or novels. But in the hands of a writer as practiced as Ann Patchett, critic Maureen Corrigan says the essay becomes an expansive storytelling vessel. Patchett's new book is This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage.


'Blue Valentine': A Romance Raw And Unhinged.

Blue Valentine stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a couple in its final throes -- and also, through flashbacks, in more romantic times. Director Derek Cianfrance has previously made several documentaries. Critic David Edelstein says Cianfrance employs that documentary style in this film.


An Arranged Marriage Spirals Into Quiet Disaster

Private Life, the new novel by Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Jane Smiley, follows the life of a midwestern woman who moves with her new husband, an astronomer, to California at the start of the 20th century. Reviewer Maureen Corrigan says the story, which spans a half-century, is beautifully observed.


The Inner Life Of An Imperfect Marriage

Jane Gardam has spent her long career writing dry, honest books about British life. Her new novel, The Man in the Wooden Hat, showcases the regrets of a woman never quite sure that marrying her husband was the right choice. Critic Maureen Corrigan calls Gardam the best British writer you've never heard of.


'Happens Every Day': A Marriage's Abrupt Ending

Isabel Gillies grapples with the sudden dissolution of her marriage in the memoir Happens Every Day. Critic Maureen Corrigan calls this "all too-true story" a "compulsive" and "chilling" late-night read.


Sue Miller's 'The Senator's Wife,' Polling Well

It's January, the stock market is shaky, and the Hollywood writer's strike is still dragging on, but Fresh Air's book critic says there's at least one piece of good news this month: Sue Miller has a new novel out.


The Unhappy Couples

Film critic David Edelstein reviews We Don't Live Here Anymore, based on two novellas by the late Andre Dubus. The film centers on acts of infidelity between two couples in a small college town. Edelstein says the movie is "like a bad marriage greatest hits collection."

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