counter create hit State of the Union: A Marriage in Ten Parts - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

State of the Union: A Marriage in Ten Parts

Availability: Ready to download

A heartbreaking, funny, and honest look inside of a marriage falling apart and the lengths a couple would go to in order to fix it from the bestselling author of About a Boy and High Fidelity. "Hornby is a writer who dares to be witty, intelligent, and emotionally generous all at once." - The New York Times Book Review Tom and Louise meet in a pub before their couple's ther A heartbreaking, funny, and honest look inside of a marriage falling apart and the lengths a couple would go to in order to fix it from the bestselling author of About a Boy and High Fidelity. "Hornby is a writer who dares to be witty, intelligent, and emotionally generous all at once." - The New York Times Book Review Tom and Louise meet in a pub before their couple's therapy appointment. Married for years, they thought they had a stable home life--until a recent incident pushed them to the brink. Going to therapy seemed like the perfect solution. But over drinks before their appointment, they begin to wonder: what if marriage is like a computer? What if you take it apart to see what's in there, but then you're left with a million pieces? Unfolding in the minutes before their weekly therapy sessions, the ten-chapter conversation that ensues is witty and moving, forcing them to look at their marriage--and, for the first time in a long time, at each other.


Compare
Ads Banner

A heartbreaking, funny, and honest look inside of a marriage falling apart and the lengths a couple would go to in order to fix it from the bestselling author of About a Boy and High Fidelity. "Hornby is a writer who dares to be witty, intelligent, and emotionally generous all at once." - The New York Times Book Review Tom and Louise meet in a pub before their couple's ther A heartbreaking, funny, and honest look inside of a marriage falling apart and the lengths a couple would go to in order to fix it from the bestselling author of About a Boy and High Fidelity. "Hornby is a writer who dares to be witty, intelligent, and emotionally generous all at once." - The New York Times Book Review Tom and Louise meet in a pub before their couple's therapy appointment. Married for years, they thought they had a stable home life--until a recent incident pushed them to the brink. Going to therapy seemed like the perfect solution. But over drinks before their appointment, they begin to wonder: what if marriage is like a computer? What if you take it apart to see what's in there, but then you're left with a million pieces? Unfolding in the minutes before their weekly therapy sessions, the ten-chapter conversation that ensues is witty and moving, forcing them to look at their marriage--and, for the first time in a long time, at each other.

30 review for State of the Union: A Marriage in Ten Parts

  1. 4 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    I’m trying to understand why a marital Brexit might be a great opportunity for you. A bit on the short side, but I will have whatever new project Nick Horny has to offer. I’ve been a long-time fan of his quirky and charming brand of humour and I don’t much care if this is just an under-developed film script that got streamlined into a novella. One of Hornby’s major draws is the way he writes dialogue, and in this case, dialogue is 9/10ths of the book. The title is a subtle play on politics on t I’m trying to understand why a marital Brexit might be a great opportunity for you. A bit on the short side, but I will have whatever new project Nick Horny has to offer. I’ve been a long-time fan of his quirky and charming brand of humour and I don’t much care if this is just an under-developed film script that got streamlined into a novella. One of Hornby’s major draws is the way he writes dialogue, and in this case, dialogue is 9/10ths of the book. The title is a subtle play on politics on the big scene (Brexit) reflected in the personal lives of Tom and Louise. Tom is quick witted, but unemployed and depressed. Louise is angry at his attitude, but she kind of, sort slept with somebody else. We get to meet them over ten short episodes in a bar, just before their ten scheduled appointments with their marriage counselor. Will there be a no-deal Brexit or will there be a second referendum? We’ve aged differently. I think forty is like thirty, except you have to go to the gym more. You think forty-four is like being sixty-five, except your children are younger. It’s not over! Nothing is over! Where’s your fight? [...] ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’. It’s not even night, for Christ’s sake. It’s not even teatime. Fight for your life. Fight for your marriage. Fight for work. Fight to be less bloody miserable. I have always loved the way Hornby doesn’t beat around the bush and knows how to get you interested, involved into the outcome of the emotional distress his heroes are going through. He is as quotable here as he was in his earlier books, attuned to the spirit of the times and to the hidden, twisted paths followed by the heart. The world has changed. Nobody wants music writers anymore. There’s no paid work. Time has moved on. I’m like a coal miner, or a blacksmith. Is it embarrassing, living with an unemployed blacksmith? Tom is a former music critic, now without work because everyone thinks they know better and they have a social media blog or whatever to prove it. He is not the first character to be involved in music (‘High Fidelity’, ‘About A Boy’ and ‘Juliet, Naked’ come to mind) which makes me even more interested to read Hornby’s non-fiction books of reviews. But for now, let’s stay with Tom and Louise as they renegotiate their Brexit: How are new starts possible? When you’ve been together for a long time, and you have kids, and you’ve spent years being irritated by the other person? But if they stop being irritating, they’re not them any more. Tom is a dreamer, Louise is pragmatic. He is a glass-half-empty, she is a glass-half-full type of person. And they seem to have forgotten why they got together in the first place. We never witness their sessions with the therapist, always ending the chapter as they are about to ring the doorbell at her cabinet. But that makes the dialogues between Tom and Louise even funnier and more poignant as we have to read between their lines and their jokes in order to determine their minds. “You know that perpetual-motion machines don’t exist, don’t you?” Louise says. “No. I didn’t know that. [...] But maybe that’s what we expect marriage to be. A perpetual-motion machine that never runs out of energy. But we have kids, and a mortgage, your mother, my father, work, no work ... How can one not be ground down by it?” I am not going to spoil the outcome. Please try it for yourselves. It took me less than a couple of hours to blow through it. And I look forward to doing it again, just for the pleasure of reading the dialogues again. I hope it will get turned into a movie. (view spoiler)[ instead of marriage counseling, Hornby goes back to his old trusted and tested remedy: making lists, as in ‘High Fidelity’. In this case, a list of the things Louise and Tom have in common, instead of a list of grievances. I wish politicians would try it out for size also, and we will have less conflicts, hopefully. (hide spoiler)]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    Ten short chapters filled with a couple’s witty repartee as they sit in a bar across the street from their therapist’s office and you’ve got yourself a clever little book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    MaryBeth's Bookshelf

    Nick Horny does it again; he brings us in to the human heart and does not let go. Hornby's latest novel is a voyeuristic look at a marriage in crisis. Each week Tom and Louise meet at a pub across from their marriage counselor. There they discuss what brought them to this point and what each needs to move forward. Utilizing only dialogue we are brought into the heart of this marriage, with all its cracks and imperfections. I loved it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    State of the Union is the eighth novel by award-winning British author and Bafta winner, Nick Hornby. Tom and Louise are having marital therapy. The state of their marriage is the result of a number of things including, but not limited to, “a spot of infidelity”. Tom is an unemployed music critic; Louise is a gerontologist; they meet at the pub across the road from the counsellor’s rooms before each session. Over an ale (Tom) or a white wine (Louise), they talk about what they will or won’t be d State of the Union is the eighth novel by award-winning British author and Bafta winner, Nick Hornby. Tom and Louise are having marital therapy. The state of their marriage is the result of a number of things including, but not limited to, “a spot of infidelity”. Tom is an unemployed music critic; Louise is a gerontologist; they meet at the pub across the road from the counsellor’s rooms before each session. Over an ale (Tom) or a white wine (Louise), they talk about what they will or won’t be discussing with their therapist, Kenyon; they examine their marriage and wonder if therapy can repair the damage; they talk about what went on in the previous session; and, as they watch them exit the rooms and sometimes enter the pub, they speculate on the lives of the couple whose session precedes theirs. Each of the ten chapters covers one such encounter at the pub. Some readers may find this little book difficult to read. The problem won’t be the issues raised, although they can be thought-provoking. Rather, it’s that the reader will often be laughing so much that tears fill the eyes, and make it hard to focus on the print. Thus the standard warning about reading the book in the Quiet Carriage on Public Transport, where other commuters may be disturbed by readers rolling on the floor laughing. Those with continence issues should also consider themselves forewarned. But for all that humour, there's wisdom and insight too. Much of the conversation between Tom and Louise will instantly strike a chord with married couples of a certain vintage. Tom manages to tie himself into several conversational knots. Brexit somehow gets in there, as does the possible gender bias of the counsellor, the offending lover, a fake cast, online dating, crosswords, sex, Rupert Murdoch and imaginary future partners. Apparently it's now a TV series: it would definitely translate well to the screen, so that is worth researching. A very entertaining read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Penguin Random House.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dree

    ★★1/2 A couple experiencing serious marital problems meet at a bar across from their marriage counsellor & discuss their problems prior to their sessions. This happens in 10 parts, hence the name. State of Union is filled almost entirely with dialogue & minimal description, in fact it probably would've worked better as a play. Parts of this are really funny & observant, Hornby really has a knack with that English type humour - its very easy to picture this as a short film. Unfortunately, the only o ★★1/2 A couple experiencing serious marital problems meet at a bar across from their marriage counsellor & discuss their problems prior to their sessions. This happens in 10 parts, hence the name. State of Union is filled almost entirely with dialogue & minimal description, in fact it probably would've worked better as a play. Parts of this are really funny & observant, Hornby really has a knack with that English type humour - its very easy to picture this as a short film. Unfortunately, the only other book I have read by the author is High Fidelity which although I really enjoyed, I can't now help thinking that he is trying to say something about childish, useless males, and how women should just put up with them! Although amusing, I wanted to wring Toms neck throughout this book! Cute, but a little shallow, & ultimately did not really work for me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Nick Hornby has been making quite a name for himself in film and television. Did you enjoy the movie versions of Wild, An Education and Brooklyn? He is responsible for the screenplays of all three of those. State of the Union has already been made into a TV series, too, and reads a lot like a script because it’s composed mostly of the dialogue between Tom and Louise, an estranged couple who each week meet up for a drink in the pub before their marriage counseling appointment. There’s very little Nick Hornby has been making quite a name for himself in film and television. Did you enjoy the movie versions of Wild, An Education and Brooklyn? He is responsible for the screenplays of all three of those. State of the Union has already been made into a TV series, too, and reads a lot like a script because it’s composed mostly of the dialogue between Tom and Louise, an estranged couple who each week meet up for a drink in the pub before their marriage counseling appointment. There’s very little descriptive writing; most of the time Hornby doesn’t even need to add speech attributions because it’s clear who’s saying what in the back and forth. Chris O’Dowd was a perfect choice to play Tom in the adaptation. Even though I haven’t seen it, I couldn’t stop seeing his face or hearing his voice in my head. Louise, on the other hand, could probably have been played by anyone, though I can see how Rosamund Pike’s uptight/posh manner would work. They’re meant to be an odd couple (they even voted different ways in the Brexit referendum) who’ve somehow stayed together all this time and raised two children. The crisis in their marriage was precipitated by Louise, a gerontologist, sleeping with someone else after her sex life with Tom, an underemployed music writer, dried up. They rehash their life together, what went wrong, and what might happen next in 10 snappy chapters that are funny but also cut close to the bone. What married person hasn’t wondered where the magic went as midlife approaches? Favorite lines: “the real world is gloriously unpredictable” “we expect marriage to be [a] perpetual-motion machine that never runs out of energy” “I hate to be unromantic, but convenient placement is pretty much the definition of marital sex.”

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sundae

    Nick Hornby is my soulmate. I love every word he's written. The only thing wrong with this is that it's too short! It's also a new format -- not a novel, but a teleplay. So it's all dialogue with some stage direction. But nobody does middle class middle-aged angsty dialogue like Nick Hornby, so every word is perfect.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    Apparently, this was originally simply the scripts for the new Showtime series of ten 10-minute segments bearing the same title, that Hornby then (barely) novelized, since the book itself is 96% dialogue, with some very minimal 'stage directions' thrown in occasionally. That wouldn't be so terrible, since Hornby excels in creating such dialogues, but it just seems that something is missing. Having seen a few minutes of the show itself (I don't get Showtime, or I'd definitely watch it), it is cle Apparently, this was originally simply the scripts for the new Showtime series of ten 10-minute segments bearing the same title, that Hornby then (barely) novelized, since the book itself is 96% dialogue, with some very minimal 'stage directions' thrown in occasionally. That wouldn't be so terrible, since Hornby excels in creating such dialogues, but it just seems that something is missing. Having seen a few minutes of the show itself (I don't get Showtime, or I'd definitely watch it), it is clear that the actors (Rosamund Pike and Chris O'Dowd), do a lot of the 'heavy lifting' to bring the words to life, and that without them, the words just kind of sit there. Nevertheless, a fun and quick read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Doherty

    I could have continued being a voyeur on Tom and Louise's pre-counseling pub visits, for at least another 2 months ;) Hornby does it again - giving us smart, charismatic, and appealing writing. It's fun read, and ideal for anyone who's been in a long term relationship. The character's snarky, yet connective banter makes you feel included - like you're in on the joke; with charm and stylized humor it's an ideal summer read! Galley borrowed from the publisher.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Enjoyable quick read. Unique style and mostly dialogue. Read it in less than 2 hours. I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    This is a dumb bad book and I say this as someone who’s read every Nick Hornby book—I’ve seen the movie adaptation for Juliet, Naked for goodness sake. This was so soulless and pointless and quiet honestly makes Hornby seem so old and out of touch. Yikes

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tuti

    yess! it‘s smart, it‘s funny & it works :-) read it! yess! it‘s smart, it‘s funny & it works :-) read it!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I got so excited about some new Hornby material that I paid $11 for a short story! At any rate, it's a good short story, and I spread out over three readings to make it last. I really miss having Nick Hornby novels to read, as there aren't many other contemporary writers I enjoy much. This is a story about being married a long time, and I have been, so it was interesting and drew me in right away. It goes into the nature of marriage and love and relationship problems with the style that is trade I got so excited about some new Hornby material that I paid $11 for a short story! At any rate, it's a good short story, and I spread out over three readings to make it last. I really miss having Nick Hornby novels to read, as there aren't many other contemporary writers I enjoy much. This is a story about being married a long time, and I have been, so it was interesting and drew me in right away. It goes into the nature of marriage and love and relationship problems with the style that is trademark Nick Hornby, and did I mention I wish it had been a novel instead of a short story?! All the same, I'm happy to have contributed to Nick's continued typing!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    STATE OF THE UNION is a quirky but fun read. With 10 short chapter which are all about the conversations between a couple as they wait for appointments with their marriage counselor across the street from the pub. I really enjoyed reading this novelette, and I would have enjoyed 10 more chapters!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen Foster

    Nobody does dialogue like Nick Hornby....Warm, funny, petty, silly and real. This is a short, simple little book that made me laugh out loud, but also a little sad (just like real life I guess). For 10 weeks, Tom and Louise meet for a little ‘Dutch courage’ each week at a pub, across the street from their marriage counseling sessions. We see glimpses of both the cracks in their relationship and the glue that holds them together. It’s pretty much all dialogue, but I really enjoyed these ten short Nobody does dialogue like Nick Hornby....Warm, funny, petty, silly and real. This is a short, simple little book that made me laugh out loud, but also a little sad (just like real life I guess). For 10 weeks, Tom and Louise meet for a little ‘Dutch courage’ each week at a pub, across the street from their marriage counseling sessions. We see glimpses of both the cracks in their relationship and the glue that holds them together. It’s pretty much all dialogue, but I really enjoyed these ten short, and hilariously named chapters. A perfect one sitting read. 💕

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Nick Hornby always manages to be witty even when the story is sad. (I especially felt this way about A Long Way Down). Parts of this were laugh-out-loud funny, and the dialogue was terrific, but there’s always a sense of unease because it’s about a couple whose marriage is teetering on the brink. A quick read, but he left me wanting to know more.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jared Duran

    Hornby's State of the Union is pretty much the definition of a beach read. Walk down to the shore, set out your towel and umbrella, your beach chair, set yourself down, and crack open this book. You'll probably finish it up that same afternoon. The writing is funny, the conceit is clever, and the characters are easily relatable. You already know these people--you might BE one of these people. Quintessential Hornby and thoroughly enjoyable.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    “We have created a whole life together despite everything. A language, a family. Some kind of understanding. An intimate knowledge of everything to do with the other person. What would you call all that?” A voyeuristic novella — one that feels as though you’re eavesdropping throughout. The setting: The pub where Tom & Louise meet up at every week before their marriage counseling sessions that they agreed to attend together. Despite their desire to work on their marriage, it never seems either one “We have created a whole life together despite everything. A language, a family. Some kind of understanding. An intimate knowledge of everything to do with the other person. What would you call all that?” A voyeuristic novella — one that feels as though you’re eavesdropping throughout. The setting: The pub where Tom & Louise meet up at every week before their marriage counseling sessions that they agreed to attend together. Despite their desire to work on their marriage, it never seems either one of them is fully committed to the idea. Tom is weak and a pushover; he holds Louise’s transgressions over her head, making snarky remarks while simultaneously begging for her back. Louise is selfish and a bully; she wronged Tom without thinking she was wrong. (Perhaps this is why Tom’s name is lowercase at the start of each chapter opening with him and Louise’s is always capitalized.) Although fast paced, the conversation couldn’t end quick enough, and I’m not sure Tom & Louise ever actually learned anything about marriage other than what they think it should be. A short book that I became submerged in, but two characters I hope to never meet again.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    This was a surprisingly brief book that read like a play. It examines the difficulties in a modern marriage with lots of self deprecating humor, as Hornby is known for. What held me back from loving it was how neurotic the characters were and how little we actually got to dive into their marriage, due to the book’s length. It felt like a missed opportunity for Hornby to tackle a common take with more attention and depth.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laurie Popovac

    boring and the the husband and wife were so annoying and obnoxious. meh

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies

    Loved this extremely short book. It was basically a transcript. Minimal narration- just dialogue between Tom & Louise- a married couple who are seeking therapy (for a "spot of infidelity") and what we witness are their meetings before the session. It takes place at a pub and Hornby creatively writes enough conversation to give the reader the sense of what is going on week to week. I love Nick Hornby, have read all his books and was so excited to find out he wrote this, even though it only took l Loved this extremely short book. It was basically a transcript. Minimal narration- just dialogue between Tom & Louise- a married couple who are seeking therapy (for a "spot of infidelity") and what we witness are their meetings before the session. It takes place at a pub and Hornby creatively writes enough conversation to give the reader the sense of what is going on week to week. I love Nick Hornby, have read all his books and was so excited to find out he wrote this, even though it only took like 2 hours to read and you can't help feeling gypped. Really cute.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ricardo Motti

    What a comeback! Really fun and creative book after a string of decent, readable, forgettable books by Mr. Hornby. I mean, I barely remember what 'Funny Girl' was about. A fantastic structure, great dialogues, fun, emotional at times & super short — you'll get through it in little more than an hour. Highly recommended. What a comeback! Really fun and creative book after a string of decent, readable, forgettable books by Mr. Hornby. I mean, I barely remember what 'Funny Girl' was about. A fantastic structure, great dialogues, fun, emotional at times & super short — you'll get through it in little more than an hour. Highly recommended.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Quick and witty read

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vasu Malhotra

    Like every Hornby, it has its moments, but I think with the premise itself, he has boxed himself in a little bit. What still stands out is real characters and their very specific chemistry.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nate Hawthorne

    I saw some of the episodes on tv, and like them. But then I also couldn't separate the characters in the book from the actors on tv. I think I would have read it completely differently if I had not seen the show. An interesting, if not completely British, look at marriage and staying together. Or not...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lorri Steinbacher

    This is a perfect train/waiting room/right before bed book. Hornby is his dry, quirky, funny self and the couple at the center of the union are a believable creation. If you can, catch the series on Sundance channel. Each chapter is an episode, only ten minutes long. It's good stuff. Recommended for readers who like short, punchy dialogue, stories about mature relationships, and Hornby fans. This would be a great July or August book for book groups.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    A fine little meal -- a pint, some crisps, and a nice night, perhaps. There's something about Hornby's light touch here that makes the whole thing work, makes it so that it doesn't feel like a total light cash-in moment. Instead, it's a compelling look at two people taking a look at themselves. Something all couples ought to do, now and again.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel León

    I'm not sure I'd necessarily recommend this novella, but I did enjoy it. It's a pretty sharp and real--though brief--look at a marriage.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    I tend to be fond of Hornby's unsentimental, quietly funny writing and the way he tackles ordinary life, so I fully expected to like this book, which is a short chronicle of ten conversations between a husband and wife, each talk occurring while they have a drink right before heading to marriage counseling. I like dialogue-driven, elliptical stories, too, so everything seemed poised to work. But this wound up being decidedly underwhelming for me, and in the end, it mostly just felt like a very s I tend to be fond of Hornby's unsentimental, quietly funny writing and the way he tackles ordinary life, so I fully expected to like this book, which is a short chronicle of ten conversations between a husband and wife, each talk occurring while they have a drink right before heading to marriage counseling. I like dialogue-driven, elliptical stories, too, so everything seemed poised to work. But this wound up being decidedly underwhelming for me, and in the end, it mostly just felt like a very slightly fleshed-out stage script, one that would need actors to give it any presence. It's readable--and short--so I finished it, but there's nothing especially funny, insightful, tragic, romantic, or intriguing in the way theses two particular mostly mismatched people come apart and decide to stay together. If anything, it's a little depressing that they ultimately conclude that they love each other even though they don't feel love for each other, and that their marriage will always be in some kind of trouble, that they're likely to be constantly besieged by sexual incompatibility, and that they have almost no interests in common outside of their children and wouldn't be friends if they hadn't been attracted to each other. I feel like this is meant to come off as bittersweetly realistic, but... is it? I like my wife so much more than this! Don't most people at least like some of the same TV shows or movies as their spouse? Something? I just read ten conversations between these people and I still have no idea what the hell they would talk about on a daily basis. But I guess I'm at least glad they managed to have sex again? (Edit: Apparently, it basically is a novelized script. That at least makes a little more sense.)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Reed

    I won the book as a part of A Goodreads giveaway. So thank you to Riverhead books for the free copy. I was a bit apprehensive going into this book however, it turned out to be an easy and enjoyable read. Out of the three Nick Hornby books that I have read (A long Way Down and Juliet, Naked being the other two) this was my favorite. The dialog was snappy, realistic, and incredibly well written. This is a super short book and is basically a short story broken into ten parts. The story tracks a mar I won the book as a part of A Goodreads giveaway. So thank you to Riverhead books for the free copy. I was a bit apprehensive going into this book however, it turned out to be an easy and enjoyable read. Out of the three Nick Hornby books that I have read (A long Way Down and Juliet, Naked being the other two) this was my favorite. The dialog was snappy, realistic, and incredibly well written. This is a super short book and is basically a short story broken into ten parts. The story tracks a married couple and their journey through marriage counseling. I liked how the author chose to write the book in that it is ten separate conversations all taking place at a pub right before the couple go into their counselors office across the street. You are able track their progress through their conversation. Nick Hornby does quite a good job developing the two characters for the story being as short as it is. While the book isn't one that is going change my life in anyway, it was an enjoyable read and I would recommend to any anybody.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.