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The Marriage Plot: A Novel by Jeffrey…
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The Marriage Plot: A Novel (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Jeffrey Eugenides

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2,8421872,037 (3.53)170
Member:fountainoverflows
Title:The Marriage Plot: A Novel
Authors:Jeffrey Eugenides
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2011), Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

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The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (2011)

Recently added byrabbit_winner, private library, karand, AARGANDONA, Testifly, Kirstie_Innes-Will, Y2Ash
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English (174)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (185)
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
I have been trying to read The Marriage Plot for awhile now. Part of me showed reluctance because the synopsis from the book jacket wasn't very promising to me. I am not the biggest fan of love stories, unless they're done extremely well and I hate love triangles. They are such an annoying plot device to show conflict. Mostly it was because I had a pile a library books that had to go back.

It was surprising that I was able to finish the book so fast. I wished now it wasn't over. The Marriage Plot takes place between May 1982-September 1983, with a few non sequitor flashbacks in between. It's told from three perspectives: Madeleine Hanna, the WASP "heroine," who was an English major in college, writing her senior thesis on those old Victorians (Jane Austen, George Eliot, etc) and "the marriage plot" that contribute to their works success.

Leonard Bankhead: the future boyfriend, then ex, the boyfriend and eventual husband, then "ex" of Madeleine's. He is highly intellectual Biology major but he is also hindered by his manic-depression. Then there's Mitchell Grammatics, the Religious Studies who is hopelessly in love with Madeleine but it is only one sided. In a way to get over his painful unrequited love, he travels the world with his secretly homosexual roommate Larry.

You could see my reluctance? It sounds like Pretty in Pink or Reality Sucks. However, I was pleasantly surprised on how great and realistic The Marriage Plot was. The early 1980's economy, just like now, is waning and many college students were wandering aimless, looking for jobs, plague with self-doubt. Eugenides showed particular care of being with someone with manic-depressive disorder especially when not a lot was known about the illness.

I felt bad for Madeleine. She honestly try to make it work and she really didn't want to give up until Leonard forced her hand. I felt bad for Leonard too. He wanted to be normal and I do believe he actually loved Madeleine. I think a part of him knew that he could be better but the road would be long and arduous and he wanted to spare her.

This is one of the rare times I actually saw "soul searching" work out someone and it worked out for Mitchell. The character gained some insights and had some epiphanies regarding his relationship with Madeleine. It was as if he grew up and realized there are no happy endings in real life, just endings. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
I have been trying to read The Marriage Plot for awhile now. Part of me showed reluctance because the synopsis from the book jacket wasn't very promising to me. I am not the biggest fan of love stories, unless they're done extremely well and I hate love triangles. They are such an annoying plot device to show conflict. Mostly it was because I had a pile a library books that had to go back.

It was surprising that I was able to finish the book so fast. I wished now it wasn't over. The Marriage Plot takes place between May 1982-September 1983, with a few non sequitor flashbacks in between. It's told from three perspectives: Madeleine Hanna, the WASP "heroine," who was an English major in college, writing her senior thesis on those old Victorians (Jane Austen, George Eliot, etc) and "the marriage plot" that contribute to their works success.

Leonard Bankhead: the future boyfriend, then ex, the boyfriend and eventual husband, then "ex" of Madeleine's. He is highly intellectual Biology major but he is also hindered by his manic-depression. Then there's Mitchell Grammatics, the Religious Studies who is hopelessly in love with Madeleine but it is only one sided. In a way to get over his painful unrequited love, he travels the world with his secretly homosexual roommate Larry.

You could see my reluctance? It sounds like Pretty in Pink or Reality Sucks. However, I was pleasantly surprised on how great and realistic The Marriage Plot was. The early 1980's economy, just like now, is waning and many college students were wandering aimless, looking for jobs, plague with self-doubt. Eugenides showed particular care of being with someone with manic-depressive disorder especially when not a lot was known about the illness.

I felt bad for Madeleine. She honestly try to make it work and she really didn't want to give up until Leonard forced her hand. I felt bad for Leonard too. He wanted to be normal and I do believe he actually loved Madeleine. I think a part of him knew that he could be better but the road would be long and arduous and he wanted to spare her.

This is one of the rare times I actually saw "soul searching" work out someone and it worked out for Mitchell. The character gained some insights and had some epiphanies regarding his relationship with Madeleine. It was as if he grew up and realized there are no happy endings in real life, just endings. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
I have been trying to read The Marriage Plot for awhile now. Part of me showed reluctance because the synopsis from the book jacket wasn't very promising to me. I am not the biggest fan of love stories, unless they're done extremely well and I hate love triangles. They are such an annoying plot device to show conflict. Mostly it was because I had a pile a library books that had to go back.

It was surprising that I was able to finish the book so fast. I wished now it wasn't over. The Marriage Plot takes place between May 1982-September 1983, with a few non sequitor flashbacks in between. It's told from three perspectives: Madeleine Hanna, the WASP "heroine," who was an English major in college, writing her senior thesis on those old Victorians (Jane Austen, George Eliot, etc) and "the marriage plot" that contribute to their works success.

Leonard Bankhead: the future boyfriend, then ex, the boyfriend and eventual husband, then "ex" of Madeleine's. He is highly intellectual Biology major but he is also hindered by his manic-depression. Then there's Mitchell Grammatics, the Religious Studies who is hopelessly in love with Madeleine but it is only one sided. In a way to get over his painful unrequited love, he travels the world with his secretly homosexual roommate Larry.

You could see my reluctance? It sounds like Pretty in Pink or Reality Sucks. However, I was pleasantly surprised on how great and realistic The Marriage Plot was. The early 1980's economy, just like now, is waning and many college students were wandering aimless, looking for jobs, plague with self-doubt. Eugenides showed particular care of being with someone with manic-depressive disorder especially when not a lot was known about the illness.

I felt bad for Madeleine. She honestly try to make it work and she really didn't want to give up until Leonard forced her hand. I felt bad for Leonard too. He wanted to be normal and I do believe he actually loved Madeleine. I think a part of him knew that he could be better but the road would be long and arduous and he wanted to spare her.

This is one of the rare times I actually saw "soul searching" work out someone and it worked out for Mitchell. The character gained some insights and had some epiphanies regarding his relationship with Madeleine. It was as if he grew up and realized there are no happy endings in real life, just endings. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
I liked this book but I didn't like the way Mr. Eugenides treated Madeline. I felt like he should have had her see Leonard for who he really was to start with and not after she was already married to him. This felt a little like abuse to me. I did really like reading about Mitchell's travels around Europe and his involvement with religion. Overall, I thought the book was well written and flowed well I just would written it differently myself. ( )
  Swade0710 | Mar 20, 2014 |



I was hooked for the first hundred pages or so, but quickly lost interest. Didn't even finish. ( )
  karadunn | Mar 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 174 (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
Jeffrey Eugenidesprimary 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.
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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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