Book Review: 'The Newlyweds' by Nell Freudenberger

A lesson in love as published in the May 2012 issue

by Meg Wolitzer
the newlyweds book image
Photograph: Bryan McCay

After Amina Mazid of Bangladesh meets George Stillman of Rochester, New York, on a dating site called AsianEuro.com, she leaves everything that is familiar and travels across the world to become his wife. In The Newlyweds (Knopf), Nell Freudenberger shows us Amina in all her complexity. She is ambitious, devoted, intelligent, ambivalent and, when alone with George, sexually curious: “When she pressed her body against her fiancé’s, a strange sound escaped from George. It was as if there were a tiny person inside him who’d never spoken until now.” Amina and Georgekeep 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. 

Next book review: Best of the Breast

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