Andrew Sean Greer's The Story of a Marriage (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is a beautiful, lyrical novel of the 1950s in a country at war with itself—sexually repressed, patriotic, torn by racism, and smitten with domesticity. Narrated by Pearlie, a woman married to a man with secrets, this is a book full of urgent questions. "How could I possibly explain my marriage?" Pearlie asks. "Anyone watching a ship from land is no judge of its seaworthiness, for the vital part is always underwater. It can't be seen."