Curtis Sittenfeld is a best selling author known for her story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It, and her novels Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, and Sisterland. She has also published non-fiction works in a variety of publications. Her original story Atomic Marriage looks at the difficulties of marriage through the viewpoint of Heather Thiesen, who is charged with getting the writer of Atomic Marriage to agree to a movie deal, which he feels may contradict with the message of his book.
Heather is not expecting to get along with Brock Lewis, the religious man who self published an advice book on how to have a successful marriage. When he picks her up at the airport she is surprised to find herself possibly being flirted with and maybe even flirting back with him. With her own home life in a bit of a hectic state, with a young daughter and a husband, who she often seems to be in conflict with. In her role as a broker, Heather is tasked with getting Brock to agree to creating a movie based on his work that includes a gay couple, even though he does not support non-hetersexual relationships. His overarching argument is that the strongly conservative and religious will continue to support his work through the years if he maintains a conservative tone within everything connected to his book. While she disagrees with a great deal of his book she keeps finding herself drawn to Brock during her time with him.
Diane Lane provides the narration for Atomic Marriage and is able to flow between Heather’s voice as well the distinctly Southern drawl of Brock. She makes a clear distinction between Heather’s internal voice and the voice she uses in conversation with Brock. Heather’s relationship with her husband is not even remotely close to ideal and as she delves into what happens within her slowly crumbling marriage in her own mind listeners and shown just why she would want to have a more emotionally supportive relationship. While Brock is married and someone that she fundamentally does not agree with, he also speaks to her openly and freely. Sittenfield has created a commentary on marriage that examines what happens when someone seeking love finds a connection with someone in a way that she never expected. You can listen to Atomic Marriage on Audible today.