Synopses & Reviews
A New York Times Notable Book of 2011
A Publisher's Weekly Top 10 Book of 2011
A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Best Fiction of 2011 Title
One of Library Journal's Best Books of 2011
A Salon Best Fiction of 2011 title
One of The Telegraphs Best Fiction Books of the Year 2011
Its 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—whos 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 cant escape the secret responsible for Leonards 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.
"In Eugenides's perceptive new novel set in the early 1980s, the three sides of a love triangle Brown University undergraduates Madeleine, Leonard, and Mitchell come of age in a complicated and heady environment of semiotics, religious mysticism, sexual freedom, and economic recession. After graduation, the three are forced to confront their relationships, secrets, and desires as they attempt to find their way in the real world. David Pittu brilliantly narrates this audio version of Eugenides's complex novel, whether he's rattling off quotes from Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes or creating unique voices for the book's many characters. Among the standouts are his renditions of the slow and reflective Mitchell and Thurston, the star of the semiotics seminar who speaks in a falsely laconic and disinterested fashion to impress his classmates and professor. And while Pittu's rendition of Madeline is too soft and flat, he never runs out of voices for this large, global cast. The result is one of the best audiobooks of the year. A Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Jeffrey Eugenides was born in Detroit and attended Brown and Stanford Universities. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published by FSG to great acclaim in 1993, and he has received numerous awards for his work. In 2003, Eugenides received the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Middlesex (FSG, 2002), which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and Frances Prix Médicis.