The Marriage Plot
First edition cover
|Cover artist||Rodrigo Corral|
|Publisher||Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
The Marriage Plot is a 2011 novel by American writer Jeffrey Eugenides. The novel grew out of a manuscript begun by Eugenides after the publication of his novel Middlesex and portions are loosely based on his collegiate and post-collegiate experiences.
The novel was well-received by critics.
Eugenides began the novel after the publication of his novel Middlesex. He intended to write a “more tightly dramatized” novel than Middlesex, taking place over a year or several years, rather than 70. Originally, the plot concerned a debutante party, or a large family reunion, but after writing about the arrival of a daughter Madeleine to the party, he changed the plot to focus on her and her education.
Certain aspects of the novel are autobiographical. Mitchell, like Eugenides, is Greek, was raised in Detroit, carried a briefcase in college, and traveled to India after his graduation. Eugenides has said that certain traits of Madeleine and Leonard are also drawn from his experience and personality. Eugenides chose to set the novel at Brown, his alma mater, after choosing not to set it at a fictional college, saying that it would have been "too much trouble for what it was worth".
There is some debate as to whether the character Leonard is based on the author David Foster Wallace. Although Eugenides and Wallace were not friends, both were acquainted with Jonathan Franzen. Critics have pointed out that both Leonard and Wallace wear a bandana, chew tobacco, studied philosophy, and struggled with mental illness. Furthermore, both the character and Wallace had an interest in time and the passage of time and at least some of Leonard's dialogue appears to have been directly lifted from an article about Wallace. Eugenides has denied that the character is based on Wallace and cited two inspirations for the bandana: that the practice was fairly common among his friends at Brown, and that he was basing Leonard off of "Guns N' Roses and heavy metal guys".
Honors and awards
The novel was well received by critics. William Deresiewicz wrote, "'The Marriage Plot' is a new departure...intimate in tone and scale.... It’s about what Eugenides’s books are always about, no matter how they differ: the drama of coming of age.... It possesses the texture and pain of lived experience." Carlin Romano called it "the most entertaining campus novel since Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons."
- "Summer Fiction: Jeffrey Eugenides". The New Yorker. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- Eugenides, Jeffrey. The Marriage Plot. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. ISBN 978-0-374-20305-4 WorldCat
- Alter, Alexandra (30 September 2011). "Nine Years After 'Middlesex'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- Grose, Jessica (10 October 2011). "Questions for Jeffrey Eugenides". Slate. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- Hughes, Evan (9 October 2011). "Just Kids". New York Magazine. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- Paskin, Willa (20 July 2011). "There's a David Foster Wallace Character in Jeffrey Eugenides' New Novel". Vulture. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- "The DFW-Eugenides Plot". McNally Jackson. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
- Bruni, Frank (24 March 1996). "The Grunge American Novel". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
- Larson, Mark (25 November 2011). "Books of the year 2011". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- Miller, Laura (6 December 2011). "The best fiction of 2011". Salon. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- Laura Miller "The best fiction of 2011", "The best nonfiction of 2011" - Salon, Dec 8, 2011.
- William Deresiewicz, "Jeffrey Eugenides on Liberal Arts Graduates in Love," The New York Times Book Review, October 16, 2011.
- Carlin Romano, "A Campus Novel about Leaving Campus Behind", Chronicle of Higher Education Sept.4, 2011.
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