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 Telegraph's Best Fiction Books of the Year 2011
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 Jeffrey EugenidesSee more books from this Author
After nine years, Eugenides has delivered a stunningly moving work that will keep you thinking long after the last page has been read.Read Full Review of The Marriage Plot: A Novel
Plot's story line wobbles and ultimately loses its way.Read Full Review of The Marriage Plot: A Novel
Being Eugenides, the book is immensely readable, funny and heartfelt, with instantly beguiling writing that springs effortlessly back and forth over the year’s events.Read Full Review of The Marriage Plot: A Novel
Eugenides, a master storyteller, has a remarkable way of twisting his narrative in a way that seems effortless; taking us backward and forward in time to fill in details.Read Full Review of The Marriage Plot: A Novel
...all too often reading The Marriage Plot was less like sinking into a George Eliot novel than studying an extremely insightful academic article about one.Read Full Review of The Marriage Plot: A Novel
I enjoyed spending time with these familiar people, with their familiar cultural references, and discovering some dark unfamiliarity, too.Read Full Review of The Marriage Plot: A Novel
He has created an absorbing universe of a book—so much so readers will turn the last page still hoping for more.Read Full Review of The Marriage Plot: A Novel
Extremely ambitious, The Marriage Plot is also surprising and propulsive. Its non-linear narrative allows the introduction of a huge number of expertly rendered settings.Read Full Review of The Marriage Plot: A Novel
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Rated the book as 3 out of 5