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New Release: The Marriage Plot

By Jeffrey Eugenides
Farrar, Straus and Giroux | 416pgs
Release Date: October 11, 2011

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jeffrey Eugenides will publish his first new novel in almost a decade with the release of The Marriage Plot. Set at Brown University in the early 1980′s, the story focuses on an emerging love triangle between three soon to be graduating seniors. At the center of the triangle is Madeleine Hanna, an English major enamored of the romantic ideals of Austen and Joyce, who meets the brilliant, but emotionally troubled, Leonard Bankhead in a Semiotics seminar. On the sidelines is Mitchell Grammaticus, a smart and practical religious-studies student who carries a torch for Madeleine. After Graduation Leonard and Madeleine move in together and eventually marry, though Leonard’s emotional state continues to deteriorate. Mitchell embarks on a trip through India to find his true path, but cannot stop pining for Madeleine. He is inextricably drawn back to the U.S., but his return home complicates Madeleine’s marriage. Will this novel end happily ever after?

Not an extremely prolific writer, Eugenides has garnered high praise for his previous two novels, The Virgin Suicides (1993) and the Prize-winning Middlesex (2002). His third book has been well received by critics, though The Marriage Plot is not without its flaws. “Plot‘s story line wobbles and ultimately loses its way. Still, there are serious pleasures here for people who love to read: diamond-sharp observations and dazzling sentences that nearly justify the nine-year wait,” concludes Leah Greenblatt for Entertainment Weekly.

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