The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides, 2011
Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (US)
What a great book, for people who love books and love people who love books. These Brown grads are people I know, and people I love – though more pretentious than my people.* I hated finishing the novel as I always do when I love the characters – I always want to know what happens next. But read this book – it’s a much easier read than Middlesex, but just as successful in telling its story. In many ways it is a very traditional love triangle, and I was reminded of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom in some ways but Madelaine, Mitchell and Leonard are much more likeable though that may just be because we don’t see them become middleaged. There is nothing formulaic here though the title refers to the 19th century novels of Austin, the Brontes and others on which Madelaine writes her honor’s thesis. This reminded me of the huge difference in outlook between 21 and 25…it’s a whole other world.
See also the NY Times review
*A disclaimer from her daughter: There is still plenty of pretension at Brown, but we try to keep it under wraps. The pot helps keep people grounded.