Monday, February 20, 2012

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides



....he turned back to Madeleine and said, as if in pain, "There's a Fellini film playing at the Cable Car this weekend. Amarcord."
Madeleine gazed encouragingly up at him. There were all kinds of outmoded, novelistic words to describe how she was feeling, words like aflutter.

Ah, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. What a disappointment! I loved Middlesex and was so looking forward to this novel. There were moments of startling beauty in the book with sentences and paragraphs just like the above. I highlighted quite a number of passages that I'd love to remember. The book certainly had so much promise not just because it's written by Pulitzer prize winner Eugenides, but because it involves a love triangle (and who doesn't enjoy a love triangle?) of three recent college graduates one of whom is manic depressive. The first half was indeed wonderful but then it spiraled into a convoluted and tedious narrative in the second half. It almost felt like a showcase for Eugenides' wide range of knowledge on a variety of obscure topics. I'm surprised his editor didn't yell 'cut, cut, cut!' This could have been a great novel but unfortunately it's just ok. Make that a messy, ok novel.

*The above photo is a scene from the film Amarcord.

8 comments:

  1. ah thats a shame but then I found Middlesex just ok (I know I know Im in the minority)

    The reviews for this one seems to be mixed overall

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  2. Well, since I pretty much loathed Middlesex, I can't say I'll be reading The Marriage Plot any time soon. I've seen this book being read by thousands, but I've not yet felt inclined to join them, and your honest review clinches my opinion.

    On the other hand, I'm so looking forward to our adventures with Rushdie!

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  3. I ended up enjoying the novel but I felt like you did about halfway through. I kept expecting something great and was getting frustrated by Maddie and her inability to figure stuff out. But the it dawned on me that that is what it was like for me in college and shortly thereafter. Bad decisions, people that were needy in ways that I was not ready to deal with, etc. Then, it seemed to be a brilliant piece of fiction. LOL.

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    Replies
    1. @Ti - I agree that it was a great premise and it ended well although I thought that part was a bit rushed. But I don't think it's brilliant because the second half was just too messy for me. I'm glad I read it though.

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  4. I'm sorry to hear that it's disappointing. I have it on the top of my TBR list but now I think I won't be that anxious to get to it. My anxiety now I suppose, have shifted to Midnight's Children instead. :)

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  5. Oh no! I really liked this one. I agree it wasn't as amazing as Middlesex, but I did enjoy it very much, nonetheless.

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  6. I'm waiting for The Marriage Plot to come out in paperback, but I'm disappointed to find you didn't enjoy it. I too love Middlesex - I'll have to wait and see how I feel about this one.

    I notice you're now reading The Snow Child - I've just finished it and blogged about it. Let me know what you think when you've finished it.

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  7. A fine post-college novel. Strongly recommended. I bought copies for friends

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