The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
FSG • $28 • on sale October 11, 2011
Having never read Eugenides’ previous works, I was not especially excited about The Marriage Plot. The topic sounded interesting, but when I started flipping through the October fiction releases, it wasn’t even the first novel I pulled from my stack. However, it was the first October novel I felt compelled to take home so I could read the whole thing.
Eliza went into some detail about the plot and themes of the book back in February, so I’ll just say that what stood out to me as a reader new to Eugenides was the vivid, honest descriptions of the emotions of his characters. In a novel that is essentially delineating a love triangle, this talent serves him well.
Though at this moment she felt abused, abandoned, and ashamed of herself, Madeleine knew that she was still young, that she had her whole life ahead of her—a life in which, if she persevered, she might do something special—and that part of persevering meant getting past moments just like this one, when people made you feel small, unlovable and took away your confidence.
There is also plenty of humor.
There was something creepy about one guy’s face––it was like a baby’s face that had hideously aged––and it took Madeleine a full minute to realize that he’d shaved off his eyebrows.
Eugenides has said that this novel is different from his previous books, “More tightly dramatized, less fanciful.” He spoke more recently about the novel with The New Yorker, who has published parts of the novel twice (only one is available online). Will you read The Marriage Plot? What are you reading this week?