Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Story of a Marriage

The Story of a Marriage

A Novel

Andrew Sean Greer; Read by S. Epatha Merkerson

Macmillan Audio


Digital Audio


Macmillan Audio

Macmillan Audio


ISBN: 9781427204639


Apple iTunes

"We think we know the ones we love." So Pearlie Cook begins her indirect and devastating exploration of the mystery at the heart of every relationship: how we can ever truly know another person.

It is 1953 and Pearlie, a dutiful young housewife, finds herself living in the Sunset District in San Francisco, caring not only for her husband's fragile health but also for her son, who is afflicted with polio. Then, one Saturday morning, a stranger appears on her doorstep, and everything changes. All the certainties by which Pearlie has lived and tried to protect her family are thrown into doubt. Does she know her husband at all? And what does the stranger want in return for his offer of a hundred thousand dollars? For six months in 1953 young Pearlie Cook struggles to understand the world around her, and most especially her husband, Holland.

Pearlie's story is a meditation not only on love but also on the effects of war, with one war recently over and another coming to a close. Set in a climate of fear and repression–political, sexual, and racial–The Story of a Marriage from bestselling author Andrew Sean Greer, portrays three people trapped by the confines of their era, and the desperate measures they are prepared to take to escape it. Lyrical and surprising, The Story of a Marriage looks back at a period that we tend to misremember as one of innocence and simplicity.

Washington Post Best Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly Listen Up Awards: Best in Category



Andrew Sean Greer and Daniel Handler in Conversation

Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket of A Series of Unfortunate Events, interviews Andrew Sean Greer about San Francisco, writing about the past, and the weight he does(n't) feel of previous San Francisco literary giants.

More Media Access more related media on the web

Hear Andrew Sean Greer read from the book on NPR


Praise for The Story of a Marriage

“Merkerson's nuance and projection inject character elements in Pearlie that while not present in the beginning of the novel come to fruition later on, thus performing the intriguing feat of vocal foreshadowing.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“... [a] convincing performance. [Merkerson] conveys the subtle strength that emerges in Pearlie's voice as the story reveals how she matures and triumphs over unexpected challenges.” —AudioFile, Winner of Earphones Award

“ drawn in by S. Epatha Merkerson's extraordinary, finely nuanced performance, to find out, as Pearlie ultimately does, who Holland really is, where his passions lie and how the story of this marriage played out.” —BookPage, Sukey's Favorite

“Andrew Sean Greer is a devastating new writer” —Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours

“[Greer] has an eerie maturity not often found in young novelists. His prose, incantatory but not overheated, idles along with a top-hatted, almost courtly elegance.” —David Kipen, The San Francisco Chronicle

“Try Andrew Sean Greer's The Story of a Marriage for a compelling and unexpected story of a highly unusual marital dilemma in early 1950s San Francisco...It is Merkerson's deep and rich vioce that gives true voice to Pearlie Cook and the agonizing choice she must face about giving up or fighting for her husband. Greer's writing is sensitive without ever descending to sentiment, and literary without any condescension to his characters or his storytelling.” —Winston-Salem Journal

About the author

Andrew Sean Greer; Read by S. Epatha Merkerson

Andrew Sean Greer is the bestselling author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli, the story collection How it Was for Me, and the novel, The Path of Minor Planets. He lives in San Francisco, California.

An Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Award winner, S. Epatha Merkerson has won critical acclaim for her brilliant work in theatre, television, and film. She is perhaps best-known for her role as Lt. Anita Van Buren on the hit series Law & Order, for which she received a 2006 NAACP Image Award and 2007 and 2008 NAACP Image Award Nominations. An Earphones Award-winning narrator, Merkerson read The Story of a Marriage, written by Andrew Sean Greer.

Andrew Sean Greer

Copyright Henry Dombey

S. Epatha Merkerson

SGranitz/Wire Image

From the Publisher

Macmillan Audio

Latest on Facebook