Excerpt from The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Marriage Plot

A Novel

by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Marriage Plot
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2011, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2012, 464 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Elizabeth Whitmore Funk

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


When she returned to the table, no one acknowledged her.

"So, Mitchell," Phyllida was asking, "what are your plans after graduation?"

"My father's been asking me the same question," Mitchell answered. "For some reason he thinks Religious Studies isn't a marketable degree."

Madeleine smiled for the first time all day. "See? Mitchell doesn't have a job lined up, either."

"Well, I sort of do," Mitchell said.

"You do not," Madeleine challenged him.

"I'm serious. I do." He explained that he and his roommate, Larry Pleshette, had come up with a plan to fight the recession. As liberal-arts degree holders matriculating into the job market at a time when unemployment was at 9.5 percent, they had decided, after much consideration, to leave the country and stay away as long as possible. At the end of the summer, after they'd saved up enough money, they were going to backpack through Europe. After they'd seen everything in Europe there was to see, they were going to fly to India and stay there as long as their money held out. The whole trip would take eight or nine months, maybe as long as a year.

"You're going to India?" Madeleine said. "That's not a job."

"We're going to be research assistants," Mitchell said. "For Prof. Hughes."

"Prof. Hughes in the theater department?"

"I saw a program about India recently," Phyllida said. "It was terribly depressing. The poverty!"

"That's a plus for me, Mrs. Hanna," Mitchell said. "I thrive in squalor."

Phyllida, who couldn't resist this sort of mischief, gave up her solemnity, rippling with amusement. "Then you're going to the right place!"

"Maybe I'll take a trip, too," Madeleine said in a threatening tone.

No one reacted. Instead Alton asked Mitchell, "What sort of immunizations do you need for India?"

"Cholera and typhus. Gamma globulin's optional."

Phyllida shook her head. "Your mother must be worried sick."

"When I was in the service," Alton said, "they shot us up with a million things. Didn't even tell us what the shots were for."

"I think I'll move to Paris," Madeleine said in a louder voice. "Instead of getting a job."

"Mitchell," Phyllida continued, "with your interest in religious studies, I'd think India would be a perfect fit. They've got everything. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Jains, Buddhists. It's like Baskin and Robbins! I've always been fascinated by religion. Unlike my doubting-Thomas husband."

Alton winked. "I doubt that doubting Thomas existed."

"Do you know Paul Moore, Bishop Moore, at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine?" Phyllida said, keeping Mitchell's attention. "He's a great friend. You might find it interesting to meet him. We'd be happy to introduce you. When we're in the city, I always go to services at the cathedral. Have you ever been there? Oh. Well. How can I describe it? It's simply - well, simply divine!"

Phyllida held a hand to her throat with the pleasure of this bon mot, while Mitchell obligingly, even convincingly, laughed.

"Speaking of religious dignitaries," Alton cut in, "did I ever tell you about the time we met the Dalai Lama? It was at this fund-raiser at the Waldorf. We were in the receiving line. Must have been three hundred people at least. Anyway, when we finally got up to the Dalai Lama, I asked him, 'Are you any relation to Dolly Parton?'"

"I was mortified!" Phyllida cried. "Absolutely mortified."

"Daddy," Madeleine said, "you're going to be late."

"What?"

"You should get going if you want to get a good spot."

Alton looked at his watch. "We've still got an hour."

"It gets really crowded," Madeleine emphasized. "You should go now."

Alton and Phyllida looked at Mitchell, as if they trusted him to advise them. Under the table, Madeleine kicked him, and he alertly responded, "It does get pretty crowded."

"Where's the best place to stand?" Alton asked, again addressing Mitchell.

Excerpted from The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. Copyright © 2011 by Jeffrey Eugenides. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Prominent Victorian Writers

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    In the Country of Men
    by Hisham Matar
    Labeled by some as the "Libyan Kite Runner", In The Country of Men does share some ...
  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.