The Marriage Plot

By Jeffrey Eugenides
(Farrar Straus Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374203054, 406pp.)

Publication Date: October 11, 2011

List Price: $28.00*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the November 2011 Indie Next List
“Have all the great love stories already been written? What relevance do Jane Austen or George Eliot have for today's woman? In the 1980s, Madeline is wrestling with these questions both for her college thesis and as a woman fielding the attentions of two young men. Leonard is charismatic, flawed, and tragic, so Madeline is, of course, drawn to him; Mitchell is a seeker who is trying to figure out how he fits into the general scheme of the universe, and he is totally smitten by Madeline. Eugenides has brilliantly succeeded in writing a new love story for our times!”
-- Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR


Description


A "New York Times" Notable Book of 2011
A "Publisher's Weekly" Top 10 Book of 2011
A "Kirkus Reviews" Top 25 Best Fiction of 2011 Title
One of "Library Journal"'s Best Books of 2011
A "Salon" Best Fiction of 2011 title
One of "The""Telegraph"'s Best Fiction Books of the Year 2011

It's the early 1980s-the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafes 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 eighteenth-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 nineteenth 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.




About the Author
Jeffrey Eugenides grew up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and attended Brown and Stanford Universities. His novel "Middlesex" was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Ambassador Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, France's Prix Medicis, and the Lambda Literary Award. It was also selected for Oprah's Book Club. Eugenides' first novel, "The Virgin Suicides", was adapted into a critically-acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola. He is on the faculty of Princeton University, and lives in Princeton, New Jersey.


NPR
Tuesday, Oct 11, 2011

Jeffrey Eugenides' third novel, The Marriage Plot, charts the lives of three young adults as they finish college, fall in love and navigate the real world after graduating from Brown University in 1982. Eugenides, also a Brown alum, based some of the novel on his own experiences directly after college. More at NPR.org

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