The Marriage Plot, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


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.




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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

The Marriage Plot is more clearly autobiographical than Middlesex, with careful 1980s references: descriptions of genetics at the time match my undergraduate memories. I found the portrayal of manic depression and the long-suffering partner moving, and the satire of theory-ridden English classes hilarious, but other readers might not.

Review by

Turgid, vapid, relentlessly dull. It's quite an achievement to have created so many characters I couldn't have cared less about. Yes, it's clever, but clever isn't enough. Yes, the ending subverts expectations, but by then you're so tired of these endlessly whiny characters that you just shrug.<br/><br/>Also, there's a sex scene towards the end which uses, with an apparent straight face, the expression 'her you-know-what'. It took heroic amounts of self-restraint for me not to simply hurl it through the nearest open window.<br/><br/>Ah, well. We live and learn, I suppose.

Review by

The Marriage Plot revolves around a love triangle involving Madeleine, Leonard &amp; Mitchell, who first meet at university. While Madeleine marries Leonard - a marriage that is doomed from the outset - Mitchell goes off to India to find enlightenment before returning to the States and reconnecting with Madeleine. It took me a while to get into the story, primarily because of the level of detail in the early chapters. However, once the story got going I became totally engrossed &amp; there is some excellent writing.

Review by

 I'm not quite sure what to make of this. I suspect it may be cleverer than I am, but there again it may just be ridiculous. The marriage plot of the title features as a thesis written by Madeline, our heroine. The reference is to certain regency &amp; Victorian novels in which the plot line follows a young lady faced with a variety of choices in her life, mostly related to a choice of suitor and whether to accept or reject. The author maintains that in a post feminist world the marriage plot no longer has the power it once had - the choice of marriage or spinsterhood are no longer the only two choices open to women - but that it still has a hold over us in an emotional or romantic sense. We still believe there is a soul mate out there. This follows the trial of 3 college students, graduating in the class of 82. Madeline is pure regency romance potential - good family, money (but not showy) will brought up. Mitchell is of Greek extraction, less well off and the nice guy. Leonard is from an even more damaged upbringing, and has manic depression. It is plainly clear fairly early on that Madeline is with the wrong chap. She's with him for a host of reasons, but the outsider can see it's not a happily ever after scenario we're dealing with here.I suppose I can see what he's doing, the literary references abound from the era of the romantic novel and by calling those to mind he's illustrating how modern this is. but, at essence, it still a romance, and there is little that can be said to be new in terms of love. I felt this tried a little to hard to be cutting edge, it felt, at times, that it was being explicit for effect rather than because it advanced the story any. Did i enjoy it? Probably too strong a word. Did it drag me along with it? Yes, those 13 disks went by very quickly. Would I read it again? Probably not.

Review by

Another brilliant, difficult, gripping, meandering story from Eugenides, my new favourite author. I didn't particularly like any of the characters, but the thoughtfulness of the prose once again kept me reading. English major Madeleine Hanna is loved by the brilliantly named Mitchell Grammaticus - I would marry any man with that surname! - but falls instead for manic-depressive scientist Leonard. That's it, really. They graduate, mostly, and Madeleine follows Leonard to look after him, while Mitchell goes travelling, trying to find religion. The mini-rants on feminism and different types of Eastern and Western worship are a lot like the boring chapters in Tolstoy or Hugo that Eugenides himself references, making the return to actual plot, characterisation and dialogue all the more enjoyable. I could empathise with Madeleine to a point - certainly majoring in English for a love of reading and being at a loss what else to do - but her devotion to Leonard baffled me. I'm glad that Mitchell supplied the perfect ending for her story.

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