Brief reviews of mysteries, thrillers, and crime novels.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
A very interesting and entertaining, well-conceived look at the lives of three Brown University students just before and after graduation, which takes some satiric pokes at higher education and prolonged adolescence. The main characters are Madeleine Hanna, who personifies affluence and lack of direction; Leonard Bankhead, beloved of Madeleine, whose mental illness is its own bully of a character; and Mitchell Grammaticus, who in addition for his romantic love for Madeleine, has an intellectual love of theology, but lacks the spiritual center to make it binding. Some readers found it funnier than I did; Madeleine and Leonard hurt my heart. Literature feels no compulsion to resolve anything for the reader, as opposed to genre fiction where resolution seems to be the whole point. I hate that I may never know what happens to Maddie, Leonard, and Mitchell.