Get Your Free Audiobook

An American Marriage (Oprah’s Book Club)

A Novel
Narrated by: Sean Crisden, Eisa Davis
Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
4 out of 5 stars (247 ratings)

Non-member price: $35.87

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Oprah’s Book Club 2018 Selection

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit. 

Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy's time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. 

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward - with hope and pain - into the future. 

©2018 Tayari Jones (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"Narrators Eisa Davis and Sean Crisden skillfully portray Celestial and Roy.... In Part One, the narrators read the couple's letters so intimately that the listener may feel like an intruder.... As every wedding vow is tested, the narrators breathe intensity into Jones's riveting prose." (AudioFile)  

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    119
  • 4 Stars
    76
  • 3 Stars
    42
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    133
  • 4 Stars
    64
  • 3 Stars
    23
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    110
  • 4 Stars
    63
  • 3 Stars
    41
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

This bpok flowed beautifully, I loved the characters especially Big Roy, loved the ending. Delightful & engaging from start to finish

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

This version is very well read and what a captivating story line! A definite must!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Powerful and wonderful

A beautifully written story of terrible injustice and what relationships mean. The writing is superlative and the narration extraordinary. Such a beautiful book that has been brought to life in such a fantastic way.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Misleading title

I thought that a novel with a title l”An American Marriage” wold be more epic. Middle section drags, but the performances are great, I cared about Roy and Celestial because narrators made me care.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Stirs emotions

I wasn’t sure what to think about this story. I didn’t like the main character Roy but the feelings the author portrays are very raw. An excellent book. I couldn’t wait for the start and end of the working day to listen to it on the commute

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Maria

Beautiful, well paced and deep. Excellent performances by the readers. More than an expose on marriage - it’s the American dream under the microscope

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great novel

Loved every part of this story. a true love story. you won't be disappointed. ever.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully expressed.

The emotions and journey described within these pages was expressed perfectly, in detail and perceptively. Such insight. What a great book. Thank you

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

way too slow and repetitive

struggled to finish. the storyline was far too slow and because it flips between characters you just hear the same thing but from a different perspective. Not riveting.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

The Title is Wrong

I listened to the end but it wasn't the most riveting book I've read. The title doesn't fit the story.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lisa N. Haynes
  • Lisa N. Haynes
  • 01-03-2018

Loved the Story, but...

Any additional comments?

The book started slow and I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it and that would have been a pity because I have enjoyed all of Tayari Jones' work. Fortunately, the story picked up and I did enjoy it. My only big criticism is with the narration. The male narrator's depiction of Celestial or the other female characters didn't work for me. I found myself wondering how it would have worked if Sean Crisden and Eisa Davis narrated those passages together.

127 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kristen R King
  • Kristen R King
  • 04-05-2018

So many “WTF” moments

Prepare to be underwhelmed. The only thing I truly enjoy about this book is that the characters are nuanced, neither all good nor all bad. There’s no one to really root for, it’s just a story about the complications of love and commitment.

Narration is good.

Ultimately, this story is OK. I just found myself throwing up my hands at so many points. It was like watching your trainwreck of a best friend repeat their relationship woes. It was like listening to the whiny excuses of ratchet individuals.

157 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for emankcin
  • emankcin
  • 01-07-2018

don't get the hype

I was not impressed with the overall story and especially character development. Too much of the story is untold, the protagonist hardly changes even with everything that changes in his life and the wife's actions are completely off from the "strong independent women" the author tries to paint her as. No spoilers but all she does is what the men in her life push her too, she let's others fight her battles and is so passive...yet the author keeps saying what a strong modern women she is. I couldn't get past that to enjoy the book.

106 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cindy Morris
  • Cindy Morris
  • 11-05-2018

Unredeemable characters

I found the story to be slow, monotonous and repetitious. I lost interest in the characters because they were hopelessly flawed to the point that I stopped caring about what happened to them. The best parts of the book were the beginning and the ending. The middle could have used a lot of editing.

149 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-02-2018

It was okay. Not what I expected.

The story was interesting but lack substance and depth. I kept thinking i missed something.

45 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gran-Gran78
  • Gran-Gran78
  • 12-02-2018

All in One Day...

I listened to the entire book in one day...9 hours straight. I have never been captivated by a novel in my 40 years of life. I could see each word as they were narrated... especially Eisa's narration.
When the gentleman narrated the women's parts, it didn't feel as authentic, yet their performances were phenomenal. I want to thank my former school mate, Lashawnda, for recommending this read.

56 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for NMwritergal
  • NMwritergal
  • 11-02-2018

Glad such a worthy author got the Oprah bump

I stumbled upon Jones' Silver Sparrow a few years ago and really liked it--more than this one, actually, though I did like this one. So often, really good authors (often authors of color) are totally overlooked, and you have to do a fair amount of hunting to find them amongst thousands upon thousands of books.

Jones managed to take really depressing and difficult subjects (the over incarceration of black men and wrongful conviction alongside the issues of marriage, children, fractured families, racism, and so on) and treat them in such a way that you get it--it's real--but you don't feel like opening a vein.

Roy was the most compelling and interesting character to me and the audio narrator bumped it up a notch. I wish there had been a different narrator for Celestial. While Davis was fine I was really craving Bahni Turpin, Angela Dawe, or Robin Miles, all of whom would have brought Celestial to life better.

Too often these days, authors write unlikable or really flawed narrators but write them in such a way that you can't relate, can't understand. In this novel, all three main characters are flawed (though nobody is downright unlikeable) yet you can still relate to each and understand why they are the way they are and do the things they do. That's no small feat to pull off.

I was rooting for all three main characters even though I couldn't imagine that it would turn out well for all of them!

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Wendi
  • Wendi
  • 03-05-2018

Maybe the Narration Ruined This For Me..

An American Marriage was okay. To summarize, a newly wedded couple (husband openly admits he has transgressions), were unlucky enough to be in a hotel room beside a rape victim. Some how the husband gets charged for the rape and ends up in jail. We assume he was tried and convicted for nothing more than being black.

The couple keeps up with writing to one another for a couple of years, and then the wife decides she can't take it anymore and falls in love with her childhood friend. The husband gets out of jail on appeal and goes back to try and salvage the marriage.

The narration is so monotone. I kept asking myself 'Why isn't he more upset about this??' There was no voice infliction to indicate any sort of feeling from the male or female narrator. It made the book less intense, less interesting, and less convincing.

I am grateful to Oprah for introducing me to dozens of books which I have loved since 1995. This just wasn't one of them.

-Wendi

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for calvin
  • calvin
  • 10-02-2018

Love Letters To Life and Beyond.

An American Marriage is much more then the title suggest. A beautiful layered story told in an exchange of Love Letters. The narration was outstanding and the concept made this book a page turner. Highly recommended!

54 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mia Garret
  • Mia Garret
  • 12-02-2018

Unexpected

Shocking, beautiful, Human. This story rips apart fairytales and challenges what we believe is “real” between two people who decide to be married. I will probably listen again soon.

31 people found this helpful