She moves to Rochest This story kind of sneaks up on you. She moves to Rochester to be with him, assuming that she'll soon be able to bring her parents over to live with them. As her relationship with George progresses, though, she gets some unwanted surprises, not the least of which is that an American man like George may not take it as a given that his in-laws will be moving in long-term. There were some surprises about George's romantic past as well, to which Amina's reaction seemed a bit over the top to me and difficult to fully empathize with. This book was certainly readable, with fully realized characters and cultural differences that felt authentic.
Though slow at times, it never got so boring I felt the need to put it down. At the same time, it did go on a bit too long and though I ended up liking it quite a bit, it was basically a three star read. Jun 06, Siobhan rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction , family-drama , cultural-interest. Nell Freudenberger has populated The Newlyweds with characters so real and alive it felt as if I were reading non-fiction.
Amina has escaped the poverty and difficulties of her life in Bangladesh as a modern day "mail-order" bride. She is adjusting to her new life in Rochester, NY with her husband George whom she met on an international dating site. Amina struggles with differences in culture and climate and spends her time working towards the goals of bringing her parents to the U. Of course life has a way of taking unexpected turns and Amina learns that no matter how carefully she plans and thinks things through everything is fluid and can change unexpectedly- even herself.
Her parents are very flawed but loveable characters. Many times throughout the book I would've liked to give them a hug : At turns exciting, contemplative, humorous, and heartbreaking this novel contains the full range of human emotion and experience. I would love if there were a sequel to the Newlyweds so I could find out what happens next to these compelling characters!
Sep 17, Erika Nerdypants rated it it was ok Shelves: relationships , fiction , read-in , set-in-foreign-countries , feminism. I have to be honest, I was completely underwhelmed by this book. There was so much build-up around it, but for me the story just didn't deliver. First off, the title seemed misleading, as it wasn't so much the story of a marriage or a relationship, but Amina's immigration story. At times I felt like I was reading an Anne Tyler novel with the usual quirky characters, but unlike Tyler, this author didn't make me fall in love with her protagonists.
George was one dimensional, a stolid, secretive ma I have to be honest, I was completely underwhelmed by this book. George was one dimensional, a stolid, secretive man whom we never really get to know at all. He came across more as a prop for Amina's story than a player in his own right. I found myself wondering what he was really like. Did he eat curry before Amina entered his life?
Both Amina and her husband came of as stereotypical stick figures who immediately fell into gender and race specific roles without questioning their validity. I can't fault the writing, it is clear and evocative, it was what kept me hanging in there to the end. Apr 05, Ron Charles rated it really liked it.
In , while working as an editorial assistant at the New Yorker, Freudenberger had her first story published in the magazine, along with an alluring photo of herself lounging on a purple blanket.
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Vogue and Elle swooned. A lot of us did. A bidding war broke out over her first — at the time, unwritten — book. Prizes and fellowships followed. Granta named her one of the Best Young American Novelists. As the story begins, Amina Mazid is living in Rochester, N. Americans always went to the bathroom, never the loo. They did not live in flats or stow anything in the boot of the car, and under no circumstances did they ever pop outside to smoke a fag. Informed by her travels in Thailand, India and China, she understands the complicated negotiations that always attend contacts between people of radically different backgrounds, no matter how accommodating they claim to be.
But Amina is far from a helpless mail-order bride lost in a strange land. And how Freudenberger keeps the chapters moving is a mystery of perpetual motion: Waiting for a visa, waiting for a green card, waiting for a job, waiting for a citizenship test — these bureaucratic delays should be no more entertaining than standing in line, but in this lucidly plotted novel, they seem like high drama. Moving gracefully between the sterile suburbs of Rochester and the aromatic markets of Dhaka, the novel locates that unsettling inflection point when we shift from being cared for by our parents to caring for them, without ever losing the need to please them, to win their approval, to make them happy.
After all, an online algorithm is so primitive compared with the intimate knowledge a village matchmaker can offer a young couple in the villages of Bangladesh. On either side of the world, making a marriage work demands casting off not just old lovers but cherished fantasies about who we are. Whether these two alien lovebirds can — or should — do that is the question Freudenberger poses so beguilingly.
Feb 07, N. A brilliant story which stuck with me long after I finished it. My Rating: 5 stars. May 02, Ed rated it it was ok Shelves: 2-and-a-half-stars , read-on-kindle , , new-author-to-me. After gushing on about so many really good novels I have read this year, it is almost a relief to come across one that does not quite bowl you over and that you can formulate some criticisms. Though this is not to say all is wrong with Nell Freudenberger's The Newlyweds or that the novel did not have potential in this story of Amina, a young Bangladeshi modern-day mail-order bride aka international Internet "dating" site bride coming to Rochester, NY to start a life in surburbia with George, a After gushing on about so many really good novels I have read this year, it is almost a relief to come across one that does not quite bowl you over and that you can formulate some criticisms.
Though this is not to say all is wrong with Nell Freudenberger's The Newlyweds or that the novel did not have potential in this story of Amina, a young Bangladeshi modern-day mail-order bride aka international Internet "dating" site bride coming to Rochester, NY to start a life in surburbia with George, an electrical engineer.
The first parts worked out quite well, exploring the cultural mine-field that would be at the very core of this kind of relationship, let alone any new marriage. Amina is smart and charming, George a bit tentative and bumbling and it was interesting to see how things falling out. But then things get a big bogged up as the emphasis shifts from the marriage to Amina's obsession with bringing her parents to the States. Without giving too much away and despite a good twist with each of the newlyweds which came the proverbial "day late, dollar short" , I found the novel lost its focus and, by the end, I got thinking "The Newlywed" or "Getting A Visa" would have been a more apt title.
A bit more nagging, was that I did not find the work to have an authentic ethnic voice.
In the acknowledgements, Freudenberger suggests the jumping point of the novel was a couple she knew and also notes her own extensive international travel. But I just don't think that kind of observational research, especially as an outsider, can possibly create what would have been a far richer literary experience if the author was Bangladeshi. In parts, interesting. But ultimately, just a bit of timing misfortune of not favorably stacking up against recent reads. Nov 16, Karl Lagerfeld rated it really liked it.
Newlyweds The First Year | Bravo TV Official Site
I most recently finished Nell Freudenberger's The Newlyweds. Another much-lauded recent hardcover. From Bangladesh, Amina and her doting, complicated parents pin their hopes for their future on the marriage she has arranged with George in Rochester, who she meets on an online dating site geared towards east Asians and their North American suitors. This is a sweet, quiet little story about two people moving across nations to be together and carrying with them the baggage, desires, and secrets of I most recently finished Nell Freudenberger's The Newlyweds.
This is a sweet, quiet little story about two people moving across nations to be together and carrying with them the baggage, desires, and secrets of two people moving across the world to be together. The title is so deliciously deliberate. Who are we when we choose to marry another? Is the leap of faith between two high school sweethearts really any different than an online marriage between a Deshi Muslim woman and her engineer husband-to-be? The writing is top notch - it is evocative without being showy, plain and still but revealing and imminently readable. I loved the tone that Freudenberger struck and her astute eye for the details - both in Rochester and how thrilling it was to hear reference to places in the Rochester area that I knew and had even stepped foot in!
At it's heart, this is a love story, though an unexpected one.
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It's also about faith and hope and the disconnection between the developed and developing worlds, who are at once so very far apart and not so different after all. I quite liked this novel and would recommend it. Aug 15, Judy rated it it was ok Shelves: reading-group-pick , 21st-century-fiction. Let me just say right at the start that I read this less than impressive novel for a reading group. I have not read Ms Freudenberger's earlier novel, The Dissidents. I have been aware of her status as a hot young author. She did not measure up for me to the young authors who have blown me away in my reading th Let me just say right at the start that I read this less than impressive novel for a reading group.
Her purpose in writing about Amina, a young Bangladeshi woman who marries an American man she met on an internet dating site, is to show the stresses and confusions of living between two cultures. She does make those stresses and confusions clear but compared to Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake or Brick Lane by Monica Ali, The Newlyweds felt too light, too thin; the characters lacked depth; and the story was weak on tension and emotional heft. Of course, these are merely my opinions. The reading group members all enjoyed the book and felt they had learned something. The Newlyweds is a nice, easy read for those who don't like to be challenged too much.
I know that sounds so condescending but I can't help it. Jun 15, Sarah Coleman rated it really liked it. Cultures clash gently but persistently in Freudenberger's second novel, in which American electrical engineer George marries Bangladeshi teacher Amina and brings her to live in Rochester, New York. Having conducted a mostly online romance that was largely practical on both sides, the two must now adjust their expectations to the reality in front of them.
We experience the relationship through the eyes of Amina, who finds out a secret about George's romantic past even as she's grappling with her Cultures clash gently but persistently in Freudenberger's second novel, in which American electrical engineer George marries Bangladeshi teacher Amina and brings her to live in Rochester, New York. We experience the relationship through the eyes of Amina, who finds out a secret about George's romantic past even as she's grappling with her own attraction for a friend back home.
Freudenberger has an incredibly sure authorial hand, creating characters who feel completely three-dimensional. Her evocation of Dhaka and rural Bangladesh is highly detailed and seems pitch-perfect; by contrast, she doesn't use the Rochester setting for much except to emphasize its blandness. The last third of the novel hinges on some plot points that seem a bit convoluted, but a poignant ending redeems everything. All in all a satisfying and enlightening read, though not in my top five of the last year.
Mar 02, Emily Crowe rated it liked it. Finished this book through a haze of nausea and other unpleasantries. This was an intensely quiet book, and sometimes I felt the author was so removed from her characters and story that she had no agenda whatsoever in writing it. Maybe after mulling it over for a few days I'll change my mind. But something tells me that if this were Freudenberger's first published work, she'd be slightly less the literary darling that she is today.
Jun 29, RoseMary Achey rated it liked it. A good story about family and making love work. May 04, Gregory Baird rated it really liked it Shelves: booklist , amazon-vine , arc , fiction-literature , cultural-displacement , family , love , immigration , india. Adjusting to life in her new home and country acts as a catalyst for Amina to examine her life choices and the meaning of home.
The Newlyweds is a charming, breezy read that "It was possible to change your own destiny, but you had to be vigilant and you could never look back. The Newlyweds is a charming, breezy read that is more intelligent than it may appear to be on its surface. To call it a romantic comedy might sell a lot of copies, but it would do a disservice to what a clever, carefully constructed story it is.
It's actually more in the vein of a traditional comedy of manners, just set in the modern era. I have heard Freudenberger's writing compared to Jane Austen's, and there's a bit of truth to it. Like Austen, Freudenberger is capable of embedding some pretty sharp social commentary into her story--so subtly that you almost miss it.
Unlike Austen, however, she lacks both the wit and the endearing characters that have made novels like Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility perennial classics. You see, I enjoyed The Newlyweds. I'd recommend it. I think that Freudenberger's assertion that the world is not nearly as globalized or sophisticated as we believe it to be is pretty bloody brilliant. But the details of the story are already fading from my memory. By the end of the year it's likely I'll have forgotten all about it.
I can imagine myself flipping through some "Best of " articles come December, spotting it, and thinking to myself "Oh right. That book! George's family is full of dull stock characters. George himself is a rather limited, officious prig definitely no Mr. Darcy--an unfair comparison in the best of circumstances, but no less apt I think. Perhaps that's Freudenberger's commentary on what modern Americans are actually like significantly, the member of George's family that has the most depth is the one that is fascinated with Amina's cultural background to the point of obsession , but this insight doesn't make the novel any more interesting.
That Americans are self-involved and self-important isn't exactly a revelatory observation that Amina and her family are just as self-involved makes a more poignant dig at the modern world, but this is one of those super-subtle inferences Freudenberger employs. Amina and her family are much more vibrant and colorful, but not particularly likable either. The Newlyweds is very much about the modern state of marriage, but it would be inaccurate to call it a love story.
Love has very little to do with the proceedings, in the end.
The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger
In fact, it's actually pretty cynical about love, given that it doesn't factor into the story at all. There's a dash of passion, but even that is notably lacking between our main couple. George and Amina's union represents more of a marriage-of-convenience than anything else.
It got him a chance at the family he so desired, and it got her to America. Given all its flaws, I'd still recommend The Newlyweds it would be particularly good as a summer read, I think.
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I'm still curious to check out Freudenberger's other books. But if I'm being completely honest, I'm disappointingly "meh" about the experience I had with this one. Grade: B Mar 26, Karen rated it really liked it Shelves: reading-list , library-books. In a very odd way, this book partly set in Bangladesh reminded me a lot of home. I wouldn't say it made me nostalgic, but it was interesting to think about family culture and other things that I found similar to my country. Some quotes that I could relate to: "Amina knew she was a different person in Bangla than she was English; she noticed the change every time she switched languages on the phone.
She was older in English, and also less fastidious; she was the parent to her parents. In Bangla, o In a very odd way, this book partly set in Bangladesh reminded me a lot of home. In Bangla, of course, they were still the parents, and she let them fuss over her, asking whether she was maintaining her weight, and if she'd been able to find her Horlicks in America.
Was there a person who existed beneath languages? That was the question. As a teenager, Amina had thought there was. She had believed that she'd been born with a soul whose thoughts were in no particular dialect, and she'd imagined that, when she married, her husband would be able to recognize this deep part of herself. She thought that this recognition was how she would recognize him. Of course she hadn't counted on her husband being a foreigner, a person who called her honey rather than Munni. In a way, George had created her American self, and so it made sense that it was the only one he would see.
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