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The Marriage Plot (Large Print)

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Staff Pick

Addressing the ubiquitous love triangle, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is a perfectly executed character study of three college students — Leonard, Madeleine, and Mitchell — who variously are a couple, are not a couple, were a couple, were never a couple, or were almost a couple. Ah, young love! However, absolutely nothing Eugenides writes is frivolous or insubstantial. The painful sucker punch delivered in both Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides is absent in The Marriage Plot, but the book doesn't miss it. The Marriage Plot is long on emotion and so accurately reflects our inner self-talk of angst, love, regret, and need that it feels like reading someone's diary (or maybe our own). Taking on subjects as enormous as mental illness, classism, meaningful work, religious faith, higher education, charity, self-knowledge and the nature of relationships, The Marriage Plot asks the question: Is it sometimes better to not get what you want? Eugenides is a masterful writer who doesn't shy away from uncomfortable emotions, and in his hands everyday issues reveal a deep and complex truth. Once again, the very long wait between his books has definitely been worth it.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It's the early 1980s--the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafés on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.

As Madeleine tries to understand why "it became laughable to read writers like Cheever and Updike, who wrote about the suburbia Madeleine and most of her friends had grown up in, in favor of reading the Marquis de Sade, who wrote about deflowering virgins in eighteenth-century France," real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead--charismatic loner, college Darwinist, and lost Portland boy--suddenly turns up in a semiotics seminar, and soon Madeleine finds herself in a highly charged erotic and intellectual relationship with him. At the same time, her old "friend" Mitchell Grammaticus--who's been reading Christian mysticism and generally acting strange--resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.

Over the next year, as the members of the triangle in this amazing, spellbinding novel graduate from college and enter the real world, events force them to reevaluate everything they learned in school. Leonard and Madeleine move to a biology Laboratory on Cape Cod, but can't escape the secret responsible for Leonard's seemingly inexhaustible energy and plunging moods. And Mitchell, traveling around the world to get Madeleine out of his mind, finds himself face-to-face with ultimate questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the true nature of love.

Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the Novel, while creating a story so contemporary and fresh that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives.

About the Author

Author of the Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002.

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John Harris, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by John Harris)
Some books stretch us to imagine lives we might never live, but this one led me to relive various parts of my life: growing up on the east side of Providence, coping with parents post college, and, more than anything, navigating the pining and passion of love affairs in and beyond college. Eugenides reworks the traditional marriage plot of the 19th century novel and revitalizes the age old question: will they get married? But this is far evolved beyond Austen or even Hardy. Here we have Brown graduates in a profoundly dysfunctional love triangle. Although I didn't go through quite so much sturm and drang in my fist love affairs there is enough humanity in these characters to make me love them while I mumbled my disgust with them under my breath. To top it all off each of the three main characters are juggling commitments to various theologies and post modern philosophies that they tasted in college. A Great big slice of life. MMM. Look out Franzen.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781410444530
Author:
Eugenides, Jeffrey
Publisher:
Thorndike Press
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20111131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
695
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Marriage Plot (Large Print) New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$36.25 In Stock
Product details 695 pages Thorndike Press - English 9781410444530 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Addressing the ubiquitous love triangle, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is a perfectly executed character study of three college students — Leonard, Madeleine, and Mitchell — who variously are a couple, are not a couple, were a couple, were never a couple, or were almost a couple. Ah, young love! However, absolutely nothing Eugenides writes is frivolous or insubstantial. The painful sucker punch delivered in both Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides is absent in The Marriage Plot, but the book doesn't miss it. The Marriage Plot is long on emotion and so accurately reflects our inner self-talk of angst, love, regret, and need that it feels like reading someone's diary (or maybe our own). Taking on subjects as enormous as mental illness, classism, meaningful work, religious faith, higher education, charity, self-knowledge and the nature of relationships, The Marriage Plot asks the question: Is it sometimes better to not get what you want? Eugenides is a masterful writer who doesn't shy away from uncomfortable emotions, and in his hands everyday issues reveal a deep and complex truth. Once again, the very long wait between his books has definitely been worth it.

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