The Marriage Plot – It’s What We’re Reading

April 2012

A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

The Marriage Plot

The Marriage Plot
Jeffrey Eugenides

The Marriage Plot is the long awaited work from Pulitzer Prize winning author Jeffrey Eugenides. Starting in the early 1980s, The Marriage Plot follows three Brown University students as they finish their senior year and transition into adulthood. The beginning of the novel starts with graduation day and moves backward and forward through time, bringing to light the relationship between Madeline, Leonard and Mitchell.

Most of the book focuses on 19 th century literature-loving Madeline. While at Brown she is conflicted by her love of Victorian literature and the emerging trend of postmodern literary theory in the English department. She falls in love with Leonard, a brilliant but mentally unstable student. Mitchell, whose interest lies in religion, loves Madeline, but when his love is unrequited he travels to India to work with Mother Teresa.

The story of The Marriage Plot is less about Madeline, Leonard and Mitchell’s love triangle but more about how each character comes of age after college. Like in his previous works Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides, Eugenides’ use of language makes the emotional rollercoaster of these characters a pleasure to read.

This novel can be found in the Popular Reading collection on the first floor of the Library.