October 28, 2012

The Marriage Plot - Nov. 26, 2012

We'll meet November 26 at Steph's house to discuss The Marriage Plot.

Supplemental material:
  • Reading Group Guide
  • New York Times review
  • Readers' Q&A video with the author, Work In Progress blog
  • Open Letters Monthly review, in which Eugenides says that his inspiration for The Marriage Plot was the question, "How does reading about love affect the way we fall in love today?"
  • A Conversation About The Marriage Plot, The Economist, in which Eugenides says, "That is my point about 'The Marriage Plot': you read books and they change your life."
  • Book Lust (Nancy Pearl) interviews Eugenides
  • Huffington Post interview with author:
    • Question:  You’ve said that this novel can be taken two ways: it could be interpreted as a deconstruction of the marriage plot, or a more realistic novel. Was it intended to be one or the other?
JE:  The book is a marriage plot, and yet it isn’t a marriage plot. It doesn’t carry out the conventions at all, and yet there are moments when the reader should care about who Madeleine will choose. So it does operate on both levels.
  • Interview with the author, LA Times, Oct. 29 2011.  Highlights:
    • When questioned about autobiographical nature of The Marriage Plot:  "Things that happened to Madeleine and her family are things that happened to me, and thoughts she had are thoughts I had, and books she read are books I read. But I’ll give them to her, and it will seem like a young woman is doing it, and no one would suspect that it’s something that I did. . . Madeleine has maybe every girlfriend I had in college, little bits and pieces put together."
    • Question: People are starting to notice that a generation of writers, which includes you and Jonathan Franzen, are wrestling with the question of how you create a novel after postmodernism.
      JE: Schoenberg said it’s still possible to write music in C major, and that’s coming from Mister Experimental himself. That strikes a chord in me; I think with the novel, at a certain point you realize it’s still possible to write in C major and have some kind of narrative content. And meaningful characters that readers can, you know it’s an old-fashioned term, but people can fall in love with the characters and become caught up in their lives. If you don’t have that, you cease to have te kind of novel that can be compelling.

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