An American Marriage by Tayari Jones review – a marvellous feat of storytelling

This post is by Carrie O’Grady from Books | The Guardian

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A wrongful conviction powers this Women’s prize-shortlisted novel of the black American middle-class experience

African Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of white Americans, and the negative impact of a criminal record is much greater for African American job applicants. How do black Americans navigate such a grossly unfair system, and maintain their dignity?

Tayari Jones deals with these issues wisely and sensitively in An American Marriage, shortlisted for this year’s Women’s prize for fiction. Her previous books have garnered praise across the US, but this latest one hit new heights when it was named as a favourite by both Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama; Oprah is in talks to make it into a film.

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