When I saw that my beloved Jeffrey Eugenides–author of The Virgin Suicides and the Pulitzer winner Middlesex–was writing a novel ostensibly about college, a love triangle, English majors, depression, and religious awakenings, I was prepared to be disappointed.
It just didn’t sound ambitious enough. Not that Eugenides should care in the slightest about anyone’s pre-reaction to his work.
Virgin and Middlesex were books that, both in plot and in execution simply could not have written by anyone else. Of course they had themes that pop in in zillions of other books, but they were distinct.
I am happy to report that, for me, The Marriage Plot isn’t just Eugenides’ “college novel.” It’s more than an excuse for Eugenides to show that he has studied semiotics, Irigaray, Mother Teresa, Victorian and Regency literature, and the yeast HO gene.
The English major in me would have loved all that stuff anyway, but there’s much, much more.
Eugenides is funny, too. Something, even if it was just the way he phrased things, made me laugh on nearly every page.
I’d recommend it to anyone without reservation, particularly to people who thought that they should be concerned since on the surface this book might look less Euginedesesque (not a word) than his previous novels.
And read Middlesex if you haven’t!