Complicated Arrangements: Five Intimate Novels About Marriage

Off the Shelf asked author Scott O’Connor to create a book list for us, and he chose to showcase that most complicated of unions, marriage. These five books exploring the institution range from funny to outrageous, grief-stricken to restless. Perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of your own bond with your better half.

1Birds of America
by Lorrie Moore

Moore’s takes on marriage in her famous collection are sharp, funny, and full of the kinds of revealed truths that leave you shaking your head with surprise and recognition. -Scott O'Connor

2Pacazo
by Roy Kesey

Kesey’s beautifully rendered novel of grief, a marriage cleaved in half, and what remains. -Scott O'Connor

3Music for Torching
by A. M. Homes

Outrageous and yet perfectly relatable. A family and their desperate, reckless attempts to escape their suffocatingly ordinary lives. -Scott O'Connor

4NW
by Zadie Smith

Smith’s marriages are complex and candid, full of fear and humor and hope, bad decisions and moments of defining grace. -Scott O'Connor

5A Single Man
by Christopher Isherwood

Delicately wrenching, mourning and memory, the story of a spouse, newly alone, and the uncertain life now before him. - Scott O'Connor