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The Marriage Plot [Kindle Edition]

Jeffrey Eugenides
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The new novel from the bestselling author of Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides.

Brown University, 1982. Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English student and incurable romantic, is writing her thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot – authors of the great marriage plots. As Madeleine studies the age-old motivations of the human heart, real life, in the form of two very different men, intervenes.

Leonard Bankhead, brilliant scientist and charismatic loner, attracts Madeleine with an intensity that she seems powerless to resist. Meanwhile, her old friend Mitchell Grammaticus, a theology student searching for some kind of truth in life, is certain of at least one thing – that he and Madeleine are destined to be together.

But as all three leave college, they will have to figure out how they want their own marriage plot to end.



Product Description

Review

‘If you were ever young and thought you knew what you wanted, if you ever imagined that no one could feel such intensity of emotion as you, if you ever had your dreams dashed and your heart broken, then this is the book for you’ The Times

‘I adored The Marriage Plot … David Nicholls’ One Day with George Eliot thrown in’ Erica Wagner, The Times, Books of the Year

‘I gorged myself on The Marriage Plot’ Geoff Dyer

‘A marvellous, compulsive storyteller; he reminds us that while love may not always triumph, it follows its own wayward course to the end’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Where it excels is in pinpointing human emotions and in capturing the giddy flux of young love. As Mitchell says, “There were some books that reached through the noise of life to grab you by the collar and speak only of the truest things.” Funny, poignant and insightful, this is one of those books’ Sebastian Shakespeare

‘Immensely readable, funny and heartfelt, with instantly beguiling writing that springs effortlessly back and forth over the year’s events… it was indeed worth waiting for’ Daily Telegraph

‘Utterly engrossing … so well depicted – with wit, care and charm – that Eugenides hasn’t just raised his game, he’s changed the fictional goalposts’ Daily Mirror

‘In the generosity and and nuance of his characters and paragraphs you are reminded of the Jonathan Franzen of “The Corrections”’ Observer

‘Moving, human and challenging…subtle, pertinent narrative observations that show the work of a master of fiction at work’ Times

Review

‘If you were ever young and thought you knew what you wanted, if you ever imagined that no one could feel such intensity of emotion as you, if you ever had your dreams dashed and your heart broken, then this is the book for you’ The Times

‘I adored The Marriage Plot … David Nicholls’ One Day with George Eliot thrown in’ Erica Wagner, The Times, Books of the Year

‘I gorged myself on The Marriage Plot’ Geoff Dyer

‘A marvellous, compulsive storyteller; he reminds us that while love may not always triumph, it follows its own wayward course to the end’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Where it excels is in pinpointing human emotions and in capturing the giddy flux of young love. As Mitchell says, “There were some books that reached through the noise of life to grab you by the collar and speak only of the truest things.” Funny, poignant and insightful, this is one of those books’ Sebastian Shakespeare

‘Immensely readable, funny and heartfelt, with instantly beguiling writing that springs effortlessly back and forth over the year’s events… it was indeed worth waiting for’ Daily Telegraph

‘Utterly engrossing … so well depicted – with wit, care and charm – that Eugenides hasn’t just raised his game, he’s changed the fictional goalposts’ Daily Mirror

‘In the generosity and and nuance of his characters and paragraphs you are reminded of the Jonathan Franzen of “The Corrections”’ Observer

‘Moving, human and challenging…subtle, pertinent narrative observations that show the work of a master of fiction at work’ Times


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1062 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (3 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005E88OKG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,848 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Jeffrey Eugenides -- winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Middlesex -- was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1960. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published in 1993, and has since been translated into fifteen languages and made into a major motion picture. His second novel, Middlesex, was an international bestseller. Jeffrey Eugenides is the recipient of many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and The National Foundation for the Arts, a Whiting Writers' Award, and the Harold D. Vursell Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been a Fellow of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm of the DAAD and of the American Academy in Berlin. Jeffrey Eugenides lives in Berlin.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And Sometimes They Were Very Sad 2 Dec. 2011
By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Not having reading anything by Eugenides before, I was curious to discover what has made him a Pullitzer prize-winner.

This is the story of the triangular relationship between three young Americans who meet at university in the early 1980s: Madeleine, a diligent student of English literature, but lacking in a sense of direction, falls for the brilliant, charismatic but manic depressive biologist, Leonard. Meanwhile, after a brief friendship which comes to nothing, Mitchell loves her from afar, and seeks escapism in religious theory, and a circuitous journey to India to work as a volunteer for Mother Theresa.

The novel is a modern take on the "marriage plot", seen by one of Madeleine's English professors as the dominant theme of novels up to 1900, based on the idea that women could only achieve success through marrying men, ideally with money, after which they "lived happily ever after" or endured their fate, since there was no easy escape route via divorce.

The author's technical talent is displayed through some vivid and imaginative descriptions, and his sharp ear for dialogue. The recreation of the events and attitudes of the 1980s rings true, and brings back memories for those who lived through them. Many scenes are funny or poignant. In particular, the analysis of Leonard's manic depression in its various phases strikes close to the bone and often makes for unbearably painful reading.

Ironically, it is the at times almost manic nature of the writing which weakens the structure of the novel, so that the whole may seem less than the sum of the parts. Eugenides spirals off at a tangent where his imagination leads him.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genius! 7 Nov. 2011
By SCS
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like Jeffrey Eugenides' other two novels, what makes his work special is the characters in them behave exactly as you would expect people in real life to: they make mistakes, they are vulnerable, they are fallible, and in this one they are also mentally ill.

Other readers have gone through the plot so I will give that a miss, but suffice to say that if you love literature (and considering you're on a book-ordering website reading a book review, then you must do) then this is the book for you. Set in collegiate 1980's America, this book touches more on other writers than anything I've ever come across, while weaving the complicated lives of three main characters in a touching and genius way. The characters are rich and complex, almost jumping out of the page at you - one is in love. One is breaking free. One is mentally ill. The pages start to turn themselves and you block out the world just to keep reading. And the small touches the author puts in, moments where one is ashamed or embarrassed or excited, those are ones you relate to and which make you care about the character more and more. There isn't a great deal of action, per se, in the book and yet you finish it feeling like you've run a marathon.

Brilliant writing. I had pre-ordered it and knew I wouldn't be sorry, and sure enough I wasn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Unsuccessful Novel of Ideas 5 July 2014
By Robin Friedman TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Jeffrey Eugenides' novel "The Marriage Plot" (2011) explores a triangular relationship between three graduating seniors at Brown University in 1982. The three primary characters are Madeleine Hanna, Leonard Bankhead, and Mitchell Grammaticus. Madeleine is from an upper middle-class East coast background. She is majoring in English and is an able if not brilliant student with an interest in Victorian literature and its treatment of marriages. Leonard and Mitchell are Madeleine's love interests. The tall ruggedly handsome Leonard is the child of a poor, broken home in Portland, Oregon and a highly promising biology student. He is also severely manic-depressive. Mitchell grew up in Detroit and is unsure of what he wants to do. He has majored in religious studies, read and thought a great deal and has prospects of attending divinity school followed by an academic career. His parents, understandably, are concerned about Mitchell's unremunerative choice of a major. Mitchell is awkward with women. His relationship with Madeleine seems to have devolved into the tormented frustrating category of "friends", so common and so painfully ambiguous among young men and women.

The book throughout is written in a circular style in which events are described frequently more than once from the standpoint of two or three of the primary characters. The manner in which this storytelling device is handled makes the book wordy and repetitive. The early portions of the novel are set on graduation day with extended looks at the college lives of the three protagonists. The longer part of the book takes place subsequent to graduation when the three characters begin to live adult lives. Madeleine and Leonard live together on Cape Cod as Leonard has received a scientific fellowhip.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Eugenides' best 9 Mar. 2014
By Sam
Format:Paperback
Madeline is in the final year of a literature degree. She's reading classic authors and writing her thesis on the use of the marriage plot in the novel, a topic seen as seriously outdated in the university culture of the 1980s. As she finishes her final year at university and attempts to find her way in life after it, her path entwines with that of two men, Mitchell and Leonard. Mitchell, a religious studies graduate, is keen to travel the world in search of mystic experiences. He is also certain that he is destined to end up married to Madeline. Leonard is a talented scientist promised a research fellowship at one of the most prestigious centres in the country, but his charisma covers a difficult battle with bipolar disease. As Madeline navigates the stormy path of life after college, will she find herself starring in her own marriage plot, or is the marriage plot truly dead?

I'll be honest - I picked this book up purely because it is by Jeffrey Eugenides. The Virgin Suicides is one of my favourite books and I really enjoyed Middlesex, so at this point I will buy and read anything Eudenides puts out without a second thought for whether or not the plot is appealing. With that in mind, my overall impression of The Marriage Plot is that it was very well written (I'd expect nothing less), but much more self-consciously literary than either of Eugenides previous works, and therefore not quite as enjoyable.

I agree with a lot of what Eugenides is trying to say in the novel, mainly that there is still room in literature for a book that tells a simple story, that our stories may have changed with the complications of modern life, but that readers still want a story that tells them something about the dilemma of the characters.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful coming of age story
This is an absolutely beautiful coming of age story. Eugenides creates an intimate portrait of three young people in very different places but who are so deeply bound to one... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Steve White
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writing but a bit ‘bulky’
I’m always very cautious when I read a literary fiction book. I know that I won’t like some things of it. I imagine that the ending could be very sad. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Anakina
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read
I can see why Eugenides got a Pulitzer for an earlier novel. His writing is absolutely superb. In 'The Marriage Plot' his handling of the theme (love and romance) brings the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by u.R.what.u.read
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Pretentious
Published 3 months ago by Ceidhle Goode
1.0 out of 5 stars Could not stand the writing and the mumbling. Left ...
Could not stand the writing and the mumbling. Left it on the beach long-chair one afternoon, so that I don't have to carry it in my bag anymore :)
Published 4 months ago by Anna K.
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book
For the most part, I enjoyed this book, although it struck me as being a bit long, rambling and undisciplined.
Published 5 months ago by Ms. Sasha Lubetkin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good thought provoking read as always from this author.
Published 7 months ago by Dpedin
5.0 out of 5 stars very good condition and practically new
Book arrived as described...very good condition and practically new. Great read too!
Published 7 months ago by Charlene Zahra
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable and insightful novel
I liked 'The Marriage Plot', despite it somewhat lacking the characteristic sparkling originality of Eugenides, because there's a lot of light enjoyment to be had in a novel which... Read more
Published 11 months ago by ABLL
1.0 out of 5 stars Another academic writing a story set in academia
Really boring. I think this is classed as literary fiction: ie it attempts to be profound by having the characters talk about 'clever' things and generally talk round and round... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jill Hubbard
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