Jeffrey Eugenides reads The Marriage Plot


At the Jeffrey Eugenides reading that I attended on Monday, he focused mostly on the main character of the book, Madeleine. Eugenides described her as "a young woman who is trying to be smarter. Who is trying to be less of a sap". I can't think of a time I have related more to a protagonist, and so quickly. 

One of the passages he read was the first page of The Marriage Plot

"There was, in short, this mid-size but still portable library representing pretty much everything Madeleine had read in college, a collection of texts, seemingly chose at random whose focus slowly narrowed, like a personality test, a sophisticated one you couldn't trick by anticipating the implications of its questions and finally got so lost in that your only recourse was to answer the simple truth. 
And then you waited for the result, hoping for "Artistic," or "Passionate," thinking you could live with "Sensitive," secretly fearing "Narcissistic" and "Domestic," but finally being presented with an outcome that cut both ways and made you feel different depending on the day, the hour, or the guy you happened to be dating : "Incurably Romantic"

Hearing it made me uneasy. I had the same uncomfortable feeling that comes when a person notices something about me, something I thought I was better at hiding. I saw a similar look in the faces in so many of the people sitting in the audience.

 It was strange to realize these feelings aren't a secret. These feelings aren't even my own. 

(photo) of film, Nikon n2000
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3 comments:

  1. We can be uneasy, incurably romantic bookworms together then because this passage sums up my life and my bookshelf in a nutshell.

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  2. I've never read Jeffrey Eugenides, but after seeing those excerpts I'm definitely going to pick up a copy of The Marriage Plot! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Jessie, this is my first book by him and I have been floored by how perfectly he captures what it's like to be a twenty-something just out of college, unsure and hopeful. It's definitely made a fan out of me.

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