The Marriage Plot: A Novel

Written by:
Jeffrey Eugenides
Narrated by:
David Pittu

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
October 2011
15 hours 30 minutes
A New York Times Notable Book of 2011
A Publisher's Weekly Top 10 Book of 2011
A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Best Fiction of 2011 Title
One of Library Journal's Best Books of 2011
A Salon Best Fiction of 2011 title
One of The Telegraph's Best Fiction Books of the Year 2011

It's the early 1980s—the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafés on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.

As Madeleine tries to understand why 'it became laughable to read writers like Cheever and Updike, who wrote about the suburbia Madeleine and most of her friends had grown up in, in favor of reading the Marquis de Sade, who wrote about deflowering virgins in eighteenth-century France,' real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead—charismatic loner, college Darwinist, and lost Portland boy—suddenly turns up in a semiotics seminar, and soon Madeleine finds herself in a highly charged erotic and intellectual relationship with him. At the same time, her old 'friend' Mitchell Grammaticus—who's been reading Christian mysticism and generally acting strange—resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.

Over the next year, as the members of the triangle in this amazing, spellbinding novel graduate from college and enter the real world, events force them to reevaluate everything they learned in school. Leonard and Madeleine move to a biology Laboratory on Cape Cod, but can't escape the secret responsible for Leonard's seemingly inexhaustible energy and plunging moods. And Mitchell, traveling around the world to get Madeleine out of his mind, finds himself face-to-face with ultimate questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the true nature of love.

Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the Novel, while creating a story so contemporary and fresh that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives.
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Laura Brooks

Great writing. I did not want it to end. The characters realistic and the story is one we can all relate with.

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I really liked this book. As previous reviewers have said, it does take concentration and you have to like the deviations from the main story but I actually did like them. The characters are all flawed which makes it very much more realistic and it was not remotely the standard love story which also pleased me. Unexpected ending worked very well too. I did not get all the literary references but I am not very educated in literature. I am sure they would be very much enjoyed by English majors or people who read a lot of literary fiction.

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Jennifer Staats

This book was WAY too long and seemed to spend too much time on extraneous details and not enough time on character development (especially the main character). I also found the narrator's "impersonation" of female voices to be grating, which took its toll after 15 hours. There were several times I was about to give up on the book, but then the author would come up with some creative twist to keep me interested. I'm glad I finished it, but think I would have a more pleasant memory of it if it were not so laborious to get through.

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first, this was a great audio book, the narrator was excellent. i had to read this for a book club and might not have finished it if it hadnt been for that, there were moments that lagged and i felt i couldnt stand it anymore. often clever parts would pull me right back in, like a roller coaster ride. the author is an amazing writer, i love his style and enjoyed middlesex immensely so i appreciate his effort. he has a straight forward way of writing that is refreshing. to me though, i struggled with the characters at times and their development. often i didnt like them (not always a bad thing) but they were annoying at times. overall i am glad i read it and stuck through to the end, it will be a great book to discuss at a book club meeting.

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This is not just some mushy love story. You can tell the author is very intelligent and has a deep understanding (and love) of literature, because he constantly references other books and authors. I would say it is educated reading. I enjoyed it, although it did seem a little boring at times... But overall a very researched and intense fictional story. I'm glad it didn't end the way I expected.

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