A Happy Marriage is a wrenching, close-to-perfect novel that seems to be very, very close to autobiographical and describes a thirty-year marriage coming to an end with the painful cancer death of the wife. The story is told from both ends, the beginning and the end of the marriage, and is a contrast between the very funny details of life (I loved, for instance, how he took great pains to select his most flattering pants for their first date) and the tragic bits (acquiescing to this wife’s choice to stop all medical treatment.)
It’s a happy marriage, eventually, but it’s not happy every day or even every year and I don’t mean because of the illness. There is unkindness, deception even, but rarely cruelty. It would be a great book to share with someone who is thinking of getting married, as a way to describe what it’s really like to be married for a really long time.