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The Marriage Plot (2011)

by Jeffrey Eugenides

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5,1642881,984 (3.51)275
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.

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English (273)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (3)  German (3)  French (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (287)
Showing 1-5 of 273 (next | show all)
Here's the thing. I really wanted this book to be great. Sadly, I pretty much hate all the characters. I've read two-thirds of it and I just can't take it anymore. They are a miserable bunch, even though I love so many things about the book in general. I may go back to it, but for now I just want to smack them all (well, maybe not Mitchell as much as the others). How do you enjoy a book when you can't enjoy the characters? The angst is just too great for me at the moment. ( )
  nogomu | Oct 19, 2023 |
Could only get through 80 pages. Too heavy handed, inauthentic and boring, boring, boring. ( )
  lschiff | Sep 24, 2023 |
Without a really good grasp of Derrida, Barthes and deconstruction, much of the beginning of this book will feel more like a philosophy text than a novel, but it's worth it. What this novel really is is a deconstruction of the Victorian Marriage plot. It twists the ideas of that stilted and outdated formulaic plot and turns it on its head. The characters are reflections of people; they are not the real thing. Each of them is a deconstructed trope from the Marriage Plot. The 'bad choice' becomes the mentally ill man. The 'good choice', usually a strong, moral man, becomes a seeker (with a moral failing). The woman they both desire is a woman who studies the Marriage Plot, but fails to see it right in front of her face. All in all, it is an incredibly fun read. ( )
  dogboi | Sep 16, 2023 |
I read this one a while ago, and don't recall any details. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 12, 2023 |
A love triangle consisting of three very quirky individuals made the Marriage Plot a truly interesting read but it was the originality of the ending that really impressed me. What an absolutely clever way to end a novel ! ( )
  kevinkevbo | Jul 14, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 273 (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
Eugenides, Jeffreyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pittu, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Асланян, АннаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
For the roomies,
Stevie and Moo Moo
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To start with, look at all the books.
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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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.

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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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