HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Loading...

The Marriage Plot (2011)

by Jeffrey Eugenides

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,0331981,874 (3.53)180
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 180 mentions

English (184)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (197)
Showing 1-5 of 184 (next | show all)
Madeleine is supposed to be book crazy, but other than the classics that define her as a victorianist (a personality trait that was SAID to be central to her personality, as expressed by the wallpaper but that instead seems tacked on to the spoiled girl she really is and acts as most of the time, waiting to be asked and rescued.) she never seems to have a strong connection to any books (excepting the Barthes, yes, but that seems to be about her experience of love with Leonard than about the book itself.) So the book mad protagonist I was promised wasn't there, her thesis wasn't there, her proclaimed feminist wasn't there (guys have to ASK HER OUT, what.) She is an ideal more than a person, never completely fleshed out beyond her description and are there descriptions! Mad is always calm and soft spoken and logical (except when she marries a guy who is clearly acting crazy at 22, without jobs or prospects or anything resembling sense.)

Mitchel and Leonard, oth, get developed as characters. Mitchel gets his spiritual journey (during which HE actually does read books with which me makes a connection.) Leonard's illness was fairly interesting from his point of view, and got quite disturbing from Mad´s, who is half in denial, half in abasement, as if SHE is good enough, he will somehow get better and when he doesn't, of course she resents him for it.

Even though she takes a role of caretaker to her boyfriend, Mad is basically just reacting to his actions the whole time. The very ending, which I sort of like, is presented in a paternalistic manner that wants any grace or elegance, not to mention philosophical value. Once again, Mad makes a stupid mistake, a man comes to the rescue and makes the RIGHT choice for her. She readily agrees because they always know best! To be honest, I liked both Leonard and Mitchel till I remembered that they both fell in love with a girl that relates to them in this way and they felt it was a positive thing to have her be in a position of lesser power and dependence* (Leonard crossed a number of lines for me there.)

This was so embarrassingly pathetically male I actually had to leave the room:

Madeleine liked his new muscles. And that wasn’t all. One night, she pressed her lips to Leonard’s ear and said, as if it were news, “You are so big!” And it was true. Mr. Gumby was long gone. Leonard’s girth filled Madeleine up in a way that felt not only satisfying, but breathtaking. Every millimeter of movement, in or out, was perceptible along her inner sheath. She wanted him all the time. She’d never thought much about other boys’ penises, or noticed much about them, really. But Leonard’s was highly particular to her, almost a third presence in the bed. She found herself sometimes judiciously weighing it in her hand. Did it all come down to the physical, in the end? Is that what love was? Life was so unfair. Madeleine felt sorry for all the men who weren’t Leonard. WOW. So... I guess mania produces penis enlargement, somebody should let all those poor other men know!


* Mitchel, even though he means to 'liberate' her is very patriachal in that he makes that choice for her and not for himself (I don't want to date a girl not in love with me is a reasonable thing, expressing it as he's fulfilling her NEED instead of his, being magnanimous...) ( )
  Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
So I avoided reading this for a while because I love David Foster Wallace so much and find Jonathan Franzen such a disappointment that it's hard for me to face the rest of the crew with anything but cynicism and pessimism. Luckily, that turned out to be PRECISELY the right way to go about reading this novel.

I always really enjoy reading others' reviews on Goodreads, and reviews of The Marriage Plot are no exception. One in particular I found VERY entertaining, because the reviewer complained that The Marriage Plot was about "mundane rich people" with "no real problems." The title of The Marriage Plot refers to Victorian novels, which make a lot of appearances in the book. The plot is modeled after Victorian novels. And the people in this book have WAY less mundane rich person problems than any Austen novel I've read (except Northanger Abbey, which is awesome). And one of the "rich person problems" that a character has is crippling manic depression, so I find that allegation actually pretty offensive.

Speaking of which, there are a few things about The Marriage Plot that I really enjoyed... one of them is the character with crippling manic depression. As A Depressed Person, I appreciated a portrayal of depression that wasn't limited to some weird one dimensional representation. I enjoyed the bits where you get to see the development of the depression - it was very familiar. I also was VERY surprisingly untroubled by the representation of a college-aged woman put together by a middle-aged man. At times it was pretty silly, but most of the time it hit shockingly close to home.

Is The Marriage Plot a complex, intricate work of genius with well-developed characters? No. Do I hate Mitchell with every fiber of my being as a character and find it unlikely that the leading woman would pay any attention to him at all? Uh, yes, absolutely. Did I find the ending of this book totally trite and some gotcha-bullshit? Yeah. But it's still better than The Corrections, and that's all I can hope for.

Also, the tobacco chewing, long-haired, depressed philosophy major ISN'T based on DFW? Bullshit, Eugenides. ( )
  joceloon | Aug 5, 2014 |
Although this book lagged a bit in places, I enjoyed it. I thought the ending was wonderful, and for me, unexpected. Not quite up to the quality of "Middlesex" but good nonetheless. ( )
  meredk | Aug 4, 2014 |
My book group was lukewarm about this tale of young Ivy Leaguers in love. Set in the early nineteen eighties, the central plot element is the love triangle of Madeleine Hanna, a sheltered English major, Leonard Bankhead, her bipolar scientist boyfriend, and Mitchell Grammaticus, a religion major who is desperately in love with Madeleine. Most of my book club members hated the beginning of the book, set at Brown University. They found the extended narrative about a semiotics seminar tediously academic. I, on the other hand, was intrigued, and hoped for more stuff on semiotics, even though I understand it not a whit. The book lagged for me in the middle, as Mitchell goes on a religious pilgrimage to India and Madeline and Leonard become a couple. My interest picked up again when the story turned to Leonard and his struggle with his illness. The descriptions of his manic periods were truly harrowing. And if we're taking a poll, yes, I think the ending was good. ( )
  CasualFriday | Jul 25, 2014 |
Madeleine, east coast Ivy League girl, And her unlikely love triangle. Tiresome characters in search of a plot which finally begins to be vaguely interesting two thirds of the way through the book. An excellent handbook on how NOT to make decisions. ( )
1 vote mojomomma | Jul 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 184 (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)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeffrey Eugenidesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Асланян, АннаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Information from the Finnish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374203059, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2011: Even among authors, Jeffrey Eugenides possesses a rare talent for being able to inhabit his characters. In The Marriage Plot, his third novel and first in ten years (following the Pulitzer Prize-winning Middlesex), Eugenides describes a year or so in the lives of three college seniors at Brown in the early 80s. There is Madeleine, a self-described “incurable romantic” who is slightly embarrassed at being so normal. There is Leonard, a brilliant, temperamental student from the Pacific Northwest. And completing the triangle is Mitchell, a Religious Studies major from Eugenides’ own Detroit. What follows is a book delivered in sincere and genuine prose, tracing the end of the students’ college days and continuing into those first, tentative steps toward true adulthood. This is a thoughtful and at times disarming novel about life, love, and discovery, set during a time when so much of life seems filled with deep portent. --Chris Schluep

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:32 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Madeleine Hanna breaks out of her straight-and-narrow mold when she falls in love with charismatic loner Leonard Bankhead, while at the same time an old friend of hers resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is his destiny.

» see all 6 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
11 avail.
2727 wanted
6 pay7 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.53)
0.5 1
1 20
1.5 9
2 84
2.5 27
3 274
3.5 107
4 325
4.5 62
5 110

Audible.com

Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,647,511 books! | Top bar: Always visible