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The Marriage Plot Paperback – 12 Apr 2012

3.2 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (12 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007441304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007441303
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

About the Author

Jeffrey Eugenides was born in Detroit and attended Brown and Stanford Universities. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published in 1993 to great acclaim and he has received numerous awards for his work. In 2003, Eugenides received the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Middlesex, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and France’s Prix Medicis and has sold more than 3 million copies.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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By SCS on 7 Nov. 2011
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Eugenides captivated me quickly with his spare yet beautifully written prose. Then the fact that I was reading about navel-gazing, self-involved young men and women really began to irritate me. My 20 year old English Literature student daughter loved it. I think, like The Catcher In The Rye, this is a book best enjoyed by s non-menopausal, less irritable and more idealistic person than me.
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Format: Hardcover
The Marriage Plot disappointed me. Perhaps it's unfair to compare anything to a book as sublime as Middlesex but Jeffrey Eugenides set that bar so very high. As you will expect he remains a wonderful writer but unfortunately the plot of this novel is somewhat prosaic and the characters do not elicit much empathy. I simply didn't care what happened to them. It's an easy read and satisfying to a degree - just not much depth or originality. I couldn't find anything in the characters or the storyline that I haven't come across elsewhere in a more compelling setting.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I made a rookie mistake. A mistake that I used to make when I was in my puberty and adored bands, buying whatever they brought out. I loved Middlesex, adored it, bought it for friends. "I have to read more by this genius!", and I bought the Virgin Suicides. Didn't really like it, but I could see what others would like about it. Made excuses about it. "It's because I'm not American. I'm a stranger to the suburban experience.", and I bought The Marriage Plot when it came out. As I have already confessed, a rookie mistake. A couple of years after it's release, I re-read it. The reviews had been very mixed, falling in either the love or hate category. Two years have not mellowed my opinion, I still do not like this book. The story never catches you or, as there are three main protagonists, the characters never really take you along in their experiences. The reader really could care less what these three people are up to. Worse, after a while, you start to get annoyed about the way they communicate, act, and generally make their lives increasingly more difficult without any real motivation behind it. The love scenarios feel contrived and unrealistic, even worse, the only person who seems at least partly sane is seemingly punished for not having suffered enough at the hands of the other two.
I do not like this book and would like to recommend anyone coming here because he or she has read Middlesex to please move along and act as if this book has never happened.
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