Literature, Theory and Life in "The Marriage Plot" by Jeffrey Eugenides
I have a confession to make. Are you ready? It's shocking. I've never read Jeffery Eugenides. I've owned Middlesex since it came out in paperback. I even own the movie version of The Virgin Suicides (I've never watched it.) He seems to be one of those authors, like John Irving, whose books I own but never quite get around to reading. Posts like this one from Nymeth make me really want to read him.
What I loved the most about The Marriage Plot’s myriad literary and theoretical allusions was the fact that they were not there merely for their own sake, or to allow the author to show us how knowledgeable he is: the novels Madeleine reads tell us something about what her story is going to be about; the character’s intellectual interests reveal who they are and inform their life decision. The Marriage Plot examines the intersection between literature, theory and life: what do all these abstractions mean to people on a personal level?
In this way, The Marriage Plot challenges the idea that a novel of ideas – deconstructionism, semiotics, religion, philosophy, feminism, Victorianism, you name it – a love story, and a good old-fashioned coming-of-age/intellectual growth narrative need to be at odds with each other.