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The Newlyweds, Nell Freudenberger


I remember reading and enjoying Freudenberger’s short story in the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” short story anthology, but I did not realize that this story had been expanded and developed into the novel that I had seen reviewed on so many must-read lists.

The story follows Amina, a Bangladesh woman who meets an American man online; after several months of e-mailing back and forth, he comes to visit her and proposes. Amina and her family are excited about her going to America, and look forward to the day when she becomes a citizen and is able to bring her parents to live with her and her husband. However, once Amina arrives in America, there is much to learn about American cultures, her husband’s family, taking ESL classes, and finding a job so that she can send money home to her parents.

I really enjoy Freudenberger’s writing style; her characters are vivid and emotional, dialogue and interactions are rendered clearly. Although not as poignantly powerful as the other contemporary fiction that I am reading by Lionel Shriver, I liked this novel and its glimpse into modern immigration.

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