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The Marriage Plot | [Jeffrey Eugenides]

The Marriage Plot

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

“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)

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  •  
    Elizabeth Fort Johnson, NY, United States 12-05-11
    Elizabeth Fort Johnson, NY, United States 12-05-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Don't enjoy the reader being both sexes"
    What did you like best about The Marriage Plot? What did you like least?

    The story was interesting but don't enjoy hearing a reader perform both male and female parts.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Inevitable


    Did David Pittu do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Addressed above


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Probably not


    Any additional comments?

    Enjoy being able to do things while listening to a good book

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Chicago, IL, United States 12-04-11
    Lauren Chicago, IL, United States 12-04-11 Member Since 2011

    I guess I'm a baby...I just love to be read to.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    155
    ratings
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    193
    57
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    FOLLOWING
    24
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Decent"

    The story sort of fizzles towards the end. I sort of felt like...was that the end? Is there more, hmmm...I guess that was a good book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alice 10-21-11
    Alice 10-21-11 Member Since 2008

    Another Audible Addict

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    41
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    1
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    "Great Book!"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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