The Marriage Plot
By Jeffrey Eugenides
(Picador, Paperback, 9781250014764, 416pp.)
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
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A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
Named a Best Book of the Year by
The New York Times Book Review • NPR • The New Republic • Salon • The Seattle Times • Houston Chronicle • The Miami Herald • Publisher's Weekly
"Remind[s] us with uncommon understanding what it is to be young and idealistic, in pursuit of true love, and in love with books and ideas."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"A grand romance in the Austen tradition."--USA Today
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?
It's the early 1980s. In American colleges, 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 studies the age-old motivations of the human heart, real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes---the charismatic and intense Leonard Bankhead, and her old friend the mystically inclined Mitchell Grammaticus. As all three of them face life in the real world they will have to reevaluate everything they have learned. Jeffrey Eugenides creates a new kind of contemporary love story in "his most powerful novel yet" (Newsweek).
Jeffrey Eugenides was born in Detroit and attended Brown and Stanford Universities. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published by FSG to great acclaim in 1993, and he has received numerous awards for his work. In 2003, Eugenides received the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Middlesex (FSG, 2002), which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and France's Prix Médicis.
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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- The opening scene features a litany of the books Madeleine loves. What were your first impressions of her, based on her library? How are her beliefs about love transformed throughout the novel?