Looking back over Jeffrey Eugenides’s first two novels, I wondered if a part of their enormous appeal might have been the way they brought. Life after college poses challenges for the three friends in Jeffrey Eugenides’s novel. Jeffrey Eugenides’s new novel, “The Marriage Plot,” starts down the aisle sparkling with humor like a modern version of “Pride and Prejudice,”.

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The Marriage Plot

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. 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.

It’s the early s – the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever.

Llot 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 eguenides destined to be his mate.

Jeffrey Eugenides: A ‘Marriage Plot’ Full Of Intellectual Angst : NPR

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 thf, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? Hardcoverpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Marriage Plotplease sign up.

Some people in our book club did not like the book “The Marriage Plot” because of some of the sexual scenes and the immoral behavior of young people.

How can I convince the members that experience the great Eugenides is worth it? Nikolina Maybe get a new bookclub or I swear as I was reading one section was super familiar. Was the section about Mitchell in India bathing the man at the hospice published as a short story in the New Yorker in, like, 07?

Kathryn Scarborough I am stymied by this book at every turn, the plot is not sequential, chronological or See all 6 questions about The Marriage Plot…. Lists with This Book. Apr 27, Tatiana rated it did not like it Recommends it teh I try to stay away from this word reviewing books, because too many of my favorites literary novels have been called that and it hurt.


But The Marriage Plot is pretentious. And also pompous, elitist, privileged and self-important. I just can’t quite believe that the author who managed to make stories of 5 suicidal girls and a Greek hermaphrodite so compelling, could come up with something like The Marriage Plot and think it a worthy tale to tell. A rich, freshly graduated from Brow Pretentious. No amount of references to English lit, thee and philosophy can magriage this story from its triteness.

I mrriage, truly, who can relate to this novel about rich people’s mundane dilemmas? All these people do is show off their sophistication and education in front of each other and us, readers and going through some kind of existential crises while being utterly removed from real world problems.

Right on the money, if you ask me. View all 87 comments. Oct 16, Gerald rated it it was amazing.

Masterful on many levels. At first I wasn’t drawn to any of the three characters in the love triangle – Madeleine, Leonard, and Mitchell.

Each seemed deeply flawed, and they eutenides. Except you read along and find that Eugenides thinks we all are, just as deeply in our unique ways, and are none the lesser for it. That’s the way people are, and the way life goes. We stumble through it, thinking we are somehow in control, and it’s what happens nevertheless while we are furiously busy making other plan Masterful on many levels.

We stumble through it, thinking we are somehow in control, and it’s what happens nevertheless while we are furiously busy making other marriate, or simply fretting about making up our minds. This is a literary novel, in the best sense, and I was surprised to read some critics cramming it into the diminutive genre eugenidees novel. The marriage plot, you see, is the genre form of which that work is marriagw. Eugenides wants to know whether the marriage plot is dead as a meaningful literary form, now that marriage seems hardly worthy as the ultimate goal of youthful aspirations.

Then there’s the theme of semiotics.

I studied with Roland Barthes yes, I’m that old and back then I don’t think the term semiotics even existed. At least, I don’t recall his ever having used it. But he talked incessantly about neffrey, that a novel is a long sentence spoken by its author, a literary construct waiting to be parsed. Understand, I didn’t get any of this from him back then, just from what others, jedfrey Susan Sontag, have written about him since.

His lesson plan was built around Balzac’s short story “Sarrasine,” which is the engrossing tale of a man obsessed by an opera star who turns out to be both a castralto and the “kept woman” of a powerful priest. But why Barthes chose that story for his criticism totally escaped me at the time, and Magriage can only surmise now what his intentions were.

But back to Eugenides. The characters meet in a semiotics class at Brown, and the author gives a lot of detail about the subject jwffrey its impact on their personal thoughts. Semiotics claims, for example, that humans would not experience love as we have come to understand jedfrey unless we had read about it or seen movies about it first.

There’s a similar concept in Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, in which the narrator comments that peasants in the French countryside cope with life less well than the sophisticated citizens of Paris, who have all read novels that give them models for how to act in society. Jeffrsy, this is a novel about perception, what we make of reality as it is happening to us, and our inability to make meaning of events in time to control their outcome.


Things happen or they don’t. Things work out or they don’t. They mostly don’t, and we move on. Perhaps significantly, the character in this book who understands himself best is the one whose grasp on reality is most tenuous, because he has to work at staying sane. In his acknowledgements, Eugenides credits several experts dugenides sources for genetic research another themebut he thanks no one for his extensive detailing of bipolar disorder and its treatment.

So naturally I wonder how he came by this information, jeffreyy at what personal cost. View all 24 comments. Oct 21, Whitney rated it it was ok Shelves: I’m convinced this is what happens if you combine a Whit Stillman script, Franny and Zooey, and a whole lot of beige.

There’s some beautiful writing here, unfortunately there’s equally lot of bland writing. It doesn’t help that the characters are dull either. At times, I couldn’t believe that this was nine years in the making Let’s just say the writing has a certain over-wrought feel to it.

Madeleine, the main heroine is a snooze. She’s basically a stock dream girl I’m convinced this is what happens if you combine a Whit Stillman script, Franny and Zooey, and a whole lot of beige.

She’s basically a stock dream girl – to quote one passage: Uh, how about no. I’m not sure if this was something on the authors part to show us how much Mitchell the third corner of the love triangle romanticized her, but the author doesn’t seem to make this clear what he does make clear though is that she’s VERY attractive. There doesn’t seem to be any real life in her, as Eugenides seems to tell rather than show how allegedly interesting and brilliant she is.

It’s unfortunate and the book definitely suffers because of it. Her suitors, Mitchell and Leonard seem to have a little more to them, Leonard more so – his section is where the book finally gets going.

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He’s as vulnerable as he is flawed, and we begin to see why Madeleine is obsessed with him. Yet there’s also a point where his motives become downright scary. He’s pompous, but unlike the other jedfrey, he’s at least somewhat interesting. Unfortunately he’s given only one section of the book. The third protagonist, Mitchell, is an intellectual religious studies major from Detroit, so there’s a bit of Middlesex-like feel to certain parts of his character, as he also has a Greek martiage.

But Mitchell has the terrible distinction of being “the nice guy” of the story. It doesn’t help that he seems to be plagued with the smarmy blandness that Madeleine suffers from. In the end, I really eugenieds bring myself to care whether or not these two privileged, neurotic intellectuals would ever find true love with each other. There’s also a lot of references to books and authors, like Barthes and Derrida.

At times I felt as if I were reading a dissertation or a meditation rather than a book with a plot – which considering the subject matter, I suppose is intentionally ironic, but still tedious. Overall, I can’t help but feel this is something only an English major could love. Marriaage a disappointment from Eugenides. View all 18 comments.

Nov 19, Mindy rated it it was ok.