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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Coupling is a work of fiction in the short story anthology, interpersonal drama, and slice-of-life subgenres. Self-described as “a novelistic portrait of a couple united by love, pain, intimacy, anger, and transcendence,” the work is best suited to the general adult reading audience for some moderate sexual references and occasional strong language. Penned by author William Justice Bruehl, the work explores the life of couple Mark and Marian Elman. As the pair faces different challenges at different stages of their lives, their mutual love and desire to understand and support one another stand the test of time, even in the face of outside influences and inner turmoil.
Author William Justice Bruehl has captured the true spirit of human relationships and emotions in this fascinating read. I loved the episodic nature of the storytelling, arriving in vignettes rather than trying to tell a whole epic at once, and there’s plenty to give readers a strong, poignant sense of each person as an individual but also their bond together. The shifting perspective is a strong narrative talent of the author, and this allows us to see intimate struggles from both sides of the partnership and the different but ultimately complementary ways that Mark and Marian work together to overcome anything and everything in their path. Though the work is never idealized, it is inherently romantic because of the strength of the bond and the beautiful lexis of terms that Bruehl uses to craft the atmosphere. Overall, Coupling is a highly recommended read for fans of realistic romantic drama and poignant observations on life.