Eugenides writes yet again a novel with sublime language and insight on the very personal level. Yes, this in general starts as a book on literature with with the focus of the “marriage plot” as a relevant or viable plot device in literary fiction.
As a reader, this seems to be more a frame of reference to the story setting (Brown) year (1982-pre high tech communication) and the age of the three characters (graduating college seniors with serious academic achievements). Our characters are leaving the comfort of university life with its comforts of random discourse, trends, deconstructing and reconstructing every subject studied, trends, music, etc. Life as theory and theory as life, as such.
They are essentially leaving the nicely feathered nest to begin living life and making choices, and learning what they are really capable of. Leonard is genius and tragic, Mitchell unsure about his spiritual path, and Madeline is the love interest of both men and she is the most unremarkable and least sympathetic. What follows is a brilliant look at coming to terms with the life we have been dealt, and how it often leads us in circumstances we cannot control, or where we are unable to go despite our desire, aptitude and education or the luck of living in the feathered nest of theory forever.
Rating: 5 stars