Bristol Festival of Ideas
May 30, 2015 3:30 pm
A 1980s movie extravaganza where Hadley Freeman will be reflecting on the American cult classics…
Although it’s not published until October 11th, early reviews for Jeffrey Eugenides’ new novel ‘The Marriage Plot’ have started to come in from the US.
Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly had to say:
“Eugenides’s first novel since 2002’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Middlesex so impressively, ambitiously breaks the mold of its predecessor that it calls for the founding of a new prize to recognize its success both as a novel–and as a Jeffrey Eugenides novel. Importantly but unobtrusively set in the early 1980s, this is the tale of Madeleine Hanna, recent Brown University English grad, and her admirer Mitchell Grammaticus, who opts out of Divinity School to walk the earth as an ersatz pilgrim. Madeleine is equally caught up, both with the postmodern vogue (Derrida, Barthes)–conflicting with her love of James, Austen, and Salinger–and with the brilliant Leonard Bankhead, whom she met in semiotics class and whose fits of manic depression jeopardize his suitability as a marriage prospect. Meanwhile, Mitchell winds up in Calcutta working with Mother Theresa’s volunteers, still dreaming of Madeleine. In capturing the heady spirit of youthful intellect on the verge, Eugenides revives the coming-of-age novel for a new generation The book’s fidelity to its young heroes and to a superb supporting cast of enigmatic professors, feminist theorists, neo-Victorians, and concerned mothers, and all of their evolving investment in ideas and ideals is such that the central argument of the book is also its solution: the old stories may be best after all, but there are always new ways to complicate them”
That’s some review! We hope all the UK fans will love the book as much as Publisher’s Weekly do!
Barnes and Noble had this to say:
“The Marriage Plot is Jeffrey Eugenides’ first novel since his 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning Middlesex, and it possesses the literary resonance and erotic allure that made that fiction so successful. At the apex of its most unconventional love triangle is Madeleine Hanna, a graduating Brown English major who mixes her fervent readings of Austen and Henry James with naked romps with Leonard Bankhead, the brilliant, but unmarriageable young man she met in semiotics class. Observing all this and mostly pining in the distance is the ever-admiring Mitchell Grammaticus, whose penchant for Christian mysticism takes him in strange directions. Set in the eighties, The Marriage Plot juggles literary ideas of true love with the uncontrollable rush of real life. Expect prominent reviews and award buzz.”
We hope you will all like it too – in the mean time, here is an extract to read!