Plotting

11 08 2012

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

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.

An extremely well written and engaging campus novel. Although most of the action is extra-curricular, there is a strong academic thread with the lead characters all pursuing truth in one form or another. Madeleine, the heroine, researches unfashionable 19th Century authors while bound up in a marriage plot of her own involving Leonard, the dazzling but difficult scientist, and Mitchell the more romantic type. Highly recommended and another very good read from Eugenides.

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