Madeleine Hanna was the dutiful English major who didn't get the memo. While everyone else in the early 1980s was reading Derrida, she was happily absorbed with Jane Austen and George Eliot. Madeleine was the girl who dressed a little too nicely for the taste of her more Bohemian friends, the perfect girlfriend whose college love life, despite her good looks, hadn't lived up to expectations.
But now, in the spring of her final year, Madeleine has enrolled in a semiotics course 'to see what all the fuss is about'. And, for reasons that have nothing to do with her studies, life and literature will never be the same. Not after she falls in love with Leonard Morten - charismatic loner and college Darwinist - who is possessed of seemingly inexhaustible energy and introduces her to the ecstasies of immediate experience. And certainly not after Mitchell Grammaticus - devotee of Patti Smith and Thomas Merton - resurfaces in her life, obsessed with the idea that she will be his wife.
The triangle at the heart of this novel is at once age-old and completely fresh and surprising. With brilliant wit, irony and an incredible understanding of and love for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides captures the original energies of the novel while creating a story so contemporary that it reads like an intimate journal of our own lives.
Emotionally and physically exhausting
Madeline is doing her thesis on the great marriage plots of Jane Austen and George Eliot her audacious friend Matthew is convinced that they are meant to be together, but Madeline is not so sure. She falls for Leonard,a brilliant scientist with less than perfect social skills. But be warned, this is not your traditional love story, this is not a sweet love triangle wrapped up in a Austen package. The characters showcase the very best and the very worst of us, as they navigate life and love. A entirely captivating read from Jeffrey Eugenides author of The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex the sort of book that will leave you emotionally and physically exhausted. I couldn't put it down, loved every second of it, and missed it when it was over. As reviewed by 08sv