The Marriage Plot

The Marriage Plot

Book - 2011
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The long-awaited new novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides.

"There is no happiness in love, except at the end of an English novel."
--Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers

Madeleine Hanna was the dutiful English major who didn't get the memo. While everyone else in the early 1980s was reading Derrida, she was happily absorbed with Jane Austen and George Eliot: purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels. Madeleine was the girl who dressed a little too nicely for the taste of her more bohemian friends, the perfect girlfriend whose college love life, despite her good looks, hadn't lived up to expectations.

But now, in the spring of her senior year, Madeleine has enrolled in a semiotics course "to see what all the fuss is about," and, for reasons that have nothing to do with school, life and literature will never be the same. Not after she falls in love with Leonard Morten - charismatic loner, college Darwinist and lost Oregon boy - who is possessed of seemingly inexhaustible energy and introduces her to the ecstasies of immediate experience. And certainly not after Mitchell Grammaticus - devotee of Patti Smith and Thomas Merton - resurfaces in her life, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.

The triangle in this amazing and delicious novel about a generation beginning to grow up is age old, and completely fresh and surprising. With devastating wit, irony and an abiding understanding and love for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides resuscitates the original energies of the novel while creating a story so contemporary that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives.
Publisher: Toronto : Knopf Canada, c2011
ISBN: 9780307401861
Branch Call Number: FIC EUG
FIC EUG
Characteristics: 406 p. ; 24 cm

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brianreynolds Feb 21, 2017

I'll admit there were times when a little less psychology/theology/ philosophy might have improved the feast for me, but a feast it was. The three characters of the triangular romance might have lacked the heroic mantles of comic book lovers, but they were real enough, detailed enough, life-like enough that I was absorbed in their dilemmas and journeys, their foibles and humanity. Eugenides' "marriage plot" was not always comfortable or predictable, but in the end it seemed true.

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Soundreader
Feb 18, 2017

Wow. If only books matched the reviews of people who were paid to write them. Not the case with this book. I honestly have not liked any of Eugenides books but this one is dreadful. Boring, pompous, and pointless. Written for people with an English PhD with no sense of the real world around them. Dripping with superfluous language and name dropping of authors and literary works that only those who have studied literature and English extensively will understand. Characters are boring and pointless as is the plot, or lack thereof, of this book.

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spantell
Sep 29, 2016

Only got half way through. I thought it was auto-biographical, with one character representing the author's experience as a young man. Entertaining for a while but then got dull. Character driven is fine but this is not insightful.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

Unlike Middlesex, which was very plot-centered, The Marriage Plot is almost solely character driven. If you like the three main characters—everyone else in the novel is very forgettable—you'll likely enjoy the novel. Without that connection, however, there is little else to hold onto—the plot is simple and the language fairly minimalistic. If you're a hundred pages into this novel and you hate these characters, nothing will change your mind over the next 300 pages. That's not to say that these characters are not hateable—that's part of their allure—but a reader who isn't routing for one character or another is going to find this read incredibly boring.

Add Eugenides' slightly meta fictional twist to the concept of the marriage plot and you've got a winner. No, it's not quite Middlesex, but really, did we want it to be?

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dbrh852
Jan 13, 2016

I enjoyed Middlesex. This one, not so much. I struggled to read it through to the very end, hoping I would be rewarded with something worthy of my time. It never got better.

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smichal
Oct 29, 2015

horrible. Can't believe that the author of The Virgin Suicides wrote this. I'm only half way thru. Not sure if I'll be able to finish it. No character is likable. They're all just miserable and boring, talking about theology, literature and philosophy 24 hours a day. Have you ever heard anybody use the words jejune and versimilitude? UGGH

s
sonoraanne
Aug 04, 2015

Didn't finish, boring

d
dusyaka
Jul 21, 2015

I like this novel and couldn't stop to read it till the end. A lot of details, interesting discussions and a lot of things to think about.

l
Liselara
Jul 03, 2015

The problem that exists when academics write novels is that they must quote at least a hundred other authors to support their point. Novels aren't university essays; character and plot development is required; story matters. When an author relies heavily on other people's quotes, that tells me that they don't have an original thought in their own heads. The three characters are forgettable and this novel is downright depressing. In fact, half of the book tackles manic-deression in a lead character and shows no redeeming factors.

The cover says Eugenides is a "winner of the Pulitzer Prize" Huh? On what grounds?

According to the other reviewers, "Middlesex" is a much better novel (and the winner of the Pulitzer) so now I am off to read it.

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Lucky_Luke
Dec 02, 2014

Love triangle, academia, mental illness - this novel has all the true markings of a great one.

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dusyaka
Jul 21, 2015

dusyaka thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

brendotroy Dec 13, 2011

brendotroy thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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