February 15, 2012

The Marriage Plot

i've never read The Virgin Suicides, but Middlesex is one of my all-time favorite books, so i was thrilled to see a new title by Jeffrey Eugenides out on the shelves. after many months of waiting for my library copy, it was in my hands in time for my trip to South Carolina this week. the story centers around 3 college students and the year following their graduation from Brown in 1982. it begins with (a LOT of) literary theory and the premise that "the marriage plot" of the Victorian era cannot survive the current 80's culture of prenups, divorce, and greed. Eugenides himself says, "It is a book about other books, and a postmodern twist on the marriage plot of the Victorian novel." he then says, "But it is also an exploration of mental illness, failed romance and one man’s battle with religious faith." this was the stuff that drew me in and kept me reading all 400 pages. it does have an Ending- whether you consider it happy or sad depends on which of the 3 main characters you were rooting for. the whole feel of the narrative reminded me a lot of the dysfunctional relationships in Jonathan Franzen's books, and i felt a similar melancholy when i finished this one on the flight home last night. it's a sad story about complicated people, but it's beautifully written and worth going along for the ride, as bumpy as it may be.

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