The Marriage Plot

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides was an audiobook that I really enjoyed. Sure, it doesn’t have the snappy, shocking subject matter of his smash hit, Pulitzer-winning Middlesex, but it is full of great characters and the same touching tragicomic prose that we have come to expect from Eugenides.

Many other reviewers have recounted the plot, so I will not bother to get into the details here. Mostly it involves a love-triangle between Madeline Hanna, child of wealth and priveledge and two guys who are not, Mitchell Gramaticus and Leonard Bankhead, all of whom have just graduated from Brown in 1982. We then follow the three of them over the next year as they try to figure out their relationships with each other and what the next steps in their lives might be.

I found the characters genuine, despite the litany of esoteric references to authors and ideas that don’t get much play outside the academic world. The book isn’t about those references, and I think there’s really only one spot where the narrative gets bogged down with them, but overall, the action keeps moving. There were times when I laughed out loud, and other times when I gasped at the twist that the story had taken.

In addition, I found David Pittu’s reading of the novel to be a wonderful experience. I wish more audio books were this lively. He did a wonderful job of changing voices for different characters, and really bringing them to life.

The ending of the novel may be less than satisfying for some readers, but for me, the only disappointment, was that the story ended too quickly.

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