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 18th-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 19th 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.
©2011 Jeffrey Eugenides (P)2011 Macmillan Audio
“There are serious pleasures here for people who love to read.” (Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly)
“Wry, engaging and beautifully constructed.” (William Deresiewicz, The New York Times Book Review)
“[The Marriage Plot] is sly, fun entertainment, a confection for English majors and book lovers . . . Mr. Eugenides brings the period into bright detail—the brands of beer, the music, the affectations—and his send-ups of the pretensions of chic undergraduate subcultures are hilarious and charmingly rendered . . . [His] most mature and accomplished book so far” (Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal)
This would have been a wonderful short story if the hours of snobbish name-dropping had been edited out. The story was all but lost in the authors attempt to prove his own literary expertise.
The narrator did an excellent job characterizing, However his female voices came through as gay rather than authentic female which was distracting.
Loved Eugenides' other books, but "The Marriage Plot" felt like a bad knockoff of Franzen's "Freedom" (re: college love triangle). And on the subject of ripping off better writers, Eugenides bases one of his lead characters on David Foster Wallace. Leonard is a super-smart bandana-wearing tobacco-chewing bipolar prodigy. I don't know if Eugenides intended this as homage or what, but it felt cheap and obvious.
A wonderful read.
The detail and the development of the characters.
I really enjoyed him.
I have already began to recommend this book.
Excellent character development, excellent portrayal of mental health issues.
Mangos for Maria?
All around satisfying read.
I'm not at all sure who would enjoy this book. Boring and pedantic must appeal to someone.
No, I am an optimist.
The narrator was perfect for this book. Flat and dull.
I haven't even finished this book, but I stayed up most of last night listening I was so engaged. I only forced myself to turn it off to insure I could function today. Cannot wait until later so I can continue listening.
The story was interesting but don't enjoy hearing a reader perform both male and female parts.
Enjoy being able to do things while listening to a good book
Another Audible Addict
Jeffrey Eugenides outdid himself. This is one of those books that you can loose yourself in.
The charactures were believable and I could relate and sympathize with them all.
I hope there are more of his works coming to Audible soon, I will purchase all of them.
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