I recently picked up Nell Freudenberger’s new novel, The Newlyweds, unaware it’s a story about only children.  (Is she one herself?  I wonder.) Amina, the protagonist, is Bangladeshi, the new bride of a Rochester engineer she met online. She is dutiful to her parents (who are a third world mess), with a single-mindedness that could be explained as cultural—or, to some, typically like an only child. The there’s Kim, the groom’s cousin, a yoga instructor who barrels through a rootless life with an desperate need for intimate connection, ultimately to satisfy her own needs, not others’.  Another quintessential only, you might say.  (Isn’t it interesting how we have such warring types heaped upon us?)

Amina finds she is an outsider …