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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Reading Eugenides

I’ve only just finished “The Marriage Plot” and wanted to write down my feelings about the story before the next book (or last) pulled me away from its lingering imagery.

At first, the story seemed a bit thin. Commercial. Practical. This feeling surprised me, as I’d read “Middlesex” and found it both deep and inspiring. But then the story of Madeleine and Leonard and Mitchell began to make a solid groove into the earth. Eugenides’s insights into love and friendship, and what it means to make it in this world as a young person, proved to be well developed and thoroughly entertaining.

What I particularly enjoy about Eugenides is his ease of putting in information essential to the story: Madeleine’s love of books and her reading habits that have shaped her budding-adult life; background about manic-depression; short histories of religious historical migration and its intellectual investigations post-1850s. Etcetera.

Too often books are scant on just that sort of background that would otherwise pull together a book un-glued by too much interiority or dialogue. The ending of “The Marriage Plot” gave a humid-breezy way to show readers that a hysterical ending is unneeded to successfully conclude a contemporary novel.

These being the positives around this books, I must say that it shan’t be read in 50 years. Too thin.


My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.