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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Middlesex
My loving of this book was probably helped by re-reading Middlesex a year ago.
I was fascinated mainly by the quality of writing: the way different scenes are intertwined, going back and forth, clarifying facts and situations. I read it in a weekend; couldn't put it down.
Don't read this book if you expect a plot: there is none, only life with ups and downs, joy...
Published on Feb. 22 2012 by no_name

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts...
Instead of the three generations featured in Eugenides' Pulitzer winning "Middlesex," "The Marriage Plot" presents three individuals: Madeleine Hanna, an attractive, unconfident WASP; Leonard Bankhead, her on-and-off brilliant and brooding boyfriend; and Mitchell Grammaticus, a Michigan Greek who yearns in alternation for Madeleine and for God. The novel opens on the day...
Published on Nov. 22 2011 by Reader Writer Runner


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts..., Nov. 22 2011
By 
Reader Writer Runner (Victoria, BC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Marriage Plot (Hardcover)
Instead of the three generations featured in Eugenides' Pulitzer winning "Middlesex," "The Marriage Plot" presents three individuals: Madeleine Hanna, an attractive, unconfident WASP; Leonard Bankhead, her on-and-off brilliant and brooding boyfriend; and Mitchell Grammaticus, a Michigan Greek who yearns in alternation for Madeleine and for God. The novel opens on the day the three graduate from Brown, returns to back story, then follows their first year in the "real world". Seeking sanctity, Mitchell heads to Europe and India; the other two keep house on Cape Cod, where Leonard studies yeast in a genetics lab and Madeleine applies to graduate school.

The novel contains a marriage but concerns itself neither with matrimony nor love; at heart, it is a coming-of-age drama that possesses the joys and pains of lived experience. With sympathy, modulation and deftness, Eugenides gives immediacy to Mitchell's struggle with spirituality, to Leonard's battle against mental illness and to Madeleine and Leonard's tenuous relationship. But, despite a wry, engaging and beautifully constructed story, "The Marriage Plot" sells its characters short. Mitchell's religious exploration grows tedious and ultimately gets dismissed as a sublimation of his desire for Madeline. And, though the novel's point of view alternates, Leonard receives only a single section before it virtually shuts out his voice.

Madeline, the supposed protagonist who initially seems to be on an interesting journey to maturity, eventually recedes behind Leonard's needs. No journey comes to fruition; she never discovers her vocation, which leaves the reader unable to imagine her as an adult. Perhaps that's the point of this deconstructionist novel but, if so, such obscurity comes at the cost of a truly enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Middlesex, Feb. 22 2012
This review is from: The Marriage Plot (Hardcover)
My loving of this book was probably helped by re-reading Middlesex a year ago.
I was fascinated mainly by the quality of writing: the way different scenes are intertwined, going back and forth, clarifying facts and situations. I read it in a weekend; couldn't put it down.
Don't read this book if you expect a plot: there is none, only life with ups and downs, joy and ugliness, coming up to age, brilliantly painted.
This book, together with Unbroken (Laura Hillebrand) and Dovekeepers (Alice Hoffmann) were the best three I read in 2011.
Loved it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writing but a bit ‘bulky’, May 13 2015
This review is from: The Marriage Plot (Kindle Edition)
I’m always very cautious when I read a literary fiction book. I know that I won’t like some things of it. I imagine that the ending could be very sad. It still ends up that sometimes I attempt to read one of these books and sometimes I’m lucky. This time I’ve been lucky.
I liked this novel. I couldn’t give it the fifth star because of some negative aspects that I couldn’t ignore and that reduced my enjoyment of the book.
But I prefer to start talking about what’s good in this book.
First of all the prose is wonderful. Despite the length and the countless digressions, the text flows well. For writers like me reading books like this entertains and is an opportunity to enrich their prose.
The plot itself is anything but predictable. The book, which at first glance may seem like a romance novel with a love triangle, is actually a book about love, meant as the subject and not as the purpose of the story. The fact of not being inserted within a genre in itself makes it unpredictable, but the way it is built makes you wonder what might happen in the next page and especially to which character will the story shift.
The characters are so deepened that it seems they are real, despite their excesses.
Added to this is the presence of plenty of interesting information, within the digressions mentioned earlier. Some might perceive them as info-dump, but in my opinion they are an essential part in the characterisation of the characters and the setting. After reading this book you have the impression of having learned something new and this is one aspect that I really appreciate in fiction. In particular, the reader is given the opportunity to take a look at the American youth of the 80s, something that never had happened to me in the past.
There are, however, also some negative aspects.
First of all, the presence of too much information, no matter how interesting, makes you want to read in a hurry to go to the point, to return to action and find out what will happen to the characters. However, this often leads to inadvertently go too fast in reading the scenes when something important and unexpected happens. And so you find yourself going back and re-read, but now you have missed the moment that would make you enjoy that particular plot twist.
Another sore point concerns the ending which in my opinion is too melancholic. After reading such a long book and after having suffered with the characters I wanted it to finish with an open ending characterised by at least some hope. It would have been nice to close the book with the omen of a smile.

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of Red Desert - Point of No Return
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Marriage Plot, June 25 2012
This review is from: The Marriage Plot (Hardcover)
OMG -- So Eugenides!!! And Eugenides should be used as an adverb!!! This Man is such an incredible author, kinda like Wally Lamb and others whom we could wish would produce more frequently!!! But obviously not, as it takes more time to produce quality rather than quantity!.. Jeffery, I live for your every novel. You speak to the human condition. Thank you for The Marriage Plot. I live with many people with bi-polar disorder alias manic depression. In a world of lithium induced mental states we are meant to realize the true impact of the disorder -- the way it was back then -- before today's pharmaceuticals. The impact this has on today's survivors -- are we producing zombies at the expense of levelling the mood of society? Society needs to understand the impact of mental illness, how it affects all of us and how to develop strategies to help survivors cope with mental illness. We cannot continue to sweep mental illness under the rug -- it affects all of us in some way, shape or form.
Jeffery -- I sooooo wanted Madeleine to be with Mitchell!! Seemed that they would be so perfect together. Henceforth, they sought out their own journeys and hopefully in the end would ultimately find themselves, but find each other.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Unsatifying, June 17 2014
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This review is from: The Marriage Plot (Kindle Edition)
The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex are books of incredible depth. They can be re-read over and over, and still the reader gets pleasure from the story, from the prose and from the overarching themes. The Marriage Plot, though well-written, does not come close to the depth of the Author's other two books. The protagonists are boring, the setting is boring and the action, of what there is, is boring. The Virgin Suicides was a in-depth examination of isolation, angst and suburbia - the Marriage Plot was an examination of vaguely rich people sort of interacting with or beside each other. I had high expectations of this book, and was ultimately disappointed.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Awful book, May 28 2015
This review is from: The Marriage Plot (Paperback)
I picked this book up based on my appreciation of Eugenides previous work. However, this effort is an epic fail. By page 44 I had some serious doubts. At page 66 I felt like I was trying to wade through mud. At page 100 I threw the book in the garbage... normally I resell books but I actually don't want anyone else to suffer as I did.
Mostly this is Eugenides showing off his obscure literary supremacy. Boring, self-important, bland characters. Save your money and if you get a copy of this for free, then know that the gifter hates you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars yawn fest, March 6 2013
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This review is from: The Marriage Plot (Hardcover)
I was really looking forward to diving into this book - made it to the 1/2 way point and just couldn't go on.
Tedious is the word that comes to mind.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Marriage Plot it is Not, Dec 12 2011
This review is from: The Marriage Plot (Hardcover)
"Middlesex," the best novel I have ever read, set accordingly high expectations for "The Marriage Plot," which is good, but not that good. Maybe Eugenides was too busy teaching at university (or something) to give the novel full treatment of his prodigious talent. Academia has leached off some of that Eugenides soul.
The twist at the end was a surprise, but true to life. A good book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No Middlesex, but a great book nonetheless, March 31 2012
This review is from: The Marriage Plot (Hardcover)
This is a very enjoyable book with interesting characters and a good story. I found it very well written and have already recommended it. The trick is that you can't compare it to Middlesex as you read since it is nowhere near that level of genius. That said, it is definitely still worth reading and I'm glad Jeffrey Eugenides is still writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars stunning!, Feb. 4 2012
This review is from: The Marriage Plot (Hardcover)
An stunning romantic novel about the immaturity, aspirations, love and frustrations of young people back in the early 80s. An amazing writing style that will suck you in and absorb you like the eyes of Medusa. An emotional roller coaster. Simply irresistible. Eugenides did it again!
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The Marriage Plot
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (Hardcover - Oct. 11 2011)
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