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The Marriage Plot (2011)

by Jeffrey Eugenides

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,5242561,721 (3.53)250
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. 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.… (more)
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English (241)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (254)
Showing 1-5 of 241 (next | show all)
Eugenides has a wonderful way with words, but I was annoyed by all 3 main characters, and most of the supporting ones. The descriptions of the psych unit and the homeless shelter in India was fascinating, but Maddy really irked me with her desire to save anyone but herself until the very end of the book.

Also feel like it was overhyped. Kind of like Slumdog Millionaire once I got around to seeing it. ( )
  amandanan | Jun 6, 2020 |
I love Jeffrey Eugenides. Middlesex is one of my top top top books ever and this was not that... but it was still a great book. Would I ever want to read it again? Hmmmm, maybe this is more of a 3.5 but anyway, it's still a big, thick, luscious tome with fully developed characters and so much detail that reading it feels like watching a movie with every scene available for pause during playback. I loved being inside this work and have no idea how Eugenides manages to get inside the head, heart and body of a college-aged female with such immersion. He's amazing. ( )
  gakgakg | May 28, 2020 |
Intertwining stories of Madeline, Leonard, and Mitchell, beginning with a discussion of their student days at Brown University. Leonard's manic-depression as treated in the 1980's was crippling, and the cause for pain to all three of the protagonists. ( )
  LindaLeeJacobs | Apr 22, 2020 |
I might not be intellectual enough to appreciate this book. As a whole, it was an interesting story though. ( )
  Carole0220 | Mar 21, 2020 |
During the first half, this book felt as though Eugenides had left his oodles of research done for "Middlesex", read some of Donna Tartt's "The Secret History", some Bret Easton Ellis and really dissected and mulled over Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom".

The second half had more flesh, yet also more pulp.

At the same time, this book is very well-written, and by that I mean the author has a firm grip on rhythm, colouring his language and keeping parts suspenseful. Friendships and some love feels real.

On the other hand, I'll say it's a lot of research into biology - cells - which feels a bit asperger-ish. We get the metaphors; I think. It could have used a firmer grip and more editing.

Kudos to Eugenides for name-dropping "The Paris Review". ( )
  pivic | Mar 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 241 (next | show all)
The novel isn’t really concerned with matrimony or the stories we tell about it, and the title, the opening glance at Madeleine’s library and the intermittent talk of books come across as attempts to impose an exogenous meaning. The novel isn’t really about love either, except secondarily. It’s about what Eugenides’s books are always about, no matter how they differ: the drama of coming of age.
 
No one’s more adept at channeling teenage angst than Jeffrey Eugenides. Not even J. D. Salinger.
added by LiteraryFiction | editNew York Times, MICHIKO KAKUTANI (pay site) (Oct 6, 2011)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eugenides, Jeffreyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Асланян, АннаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
People would never fall in love if they hadn't heard love talked about.
~Francois de La Rochefoucauld
And you may ask yourself, Well,
how did I get here? ...
And you may ask yourself,
This is not my beautiful house.
And you may ask yourself,
This is not my beautiful wife.
~Talking Heads
Dedication
For the roomies,
Stevie and Moo Moo
First words
To start with, look at all the books.
Quotations
Phyllida's hair was where her power resided. It was expensively set into a smooth dome, like a band shell for the presentation of that long-running act, her face.
Even now, at bed-and-breakfasts or seaside hotels, a shelf full of forlorn books always cried out to Madeline.
That left a large contingent of people majoring in English by default. Because they weren't left-brained enough for science, because history was too dry, philosophy too difficult, geology too petroleum-oriented, and math too mathematical - because they weren't musical, artistic, financially motivated, or really all that smart, these people were pursuing university degrees doing something no different from what they'd done in first grade: reading stories. English was what people who didn't know what to major in majored in.
She used a line from Trollope's Barchester Towers as an epigraph: "There is no happiness in love, except at the end of an English novel."
Reading a novel after reading semiotic theory was like jogging empty-handed after jogging with hand weights.
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Book description
English major Madeleine Hanna must choose between two suitors while working on her senior thesis on the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.
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