I spent Christmas vacation in the UK with my in-laws; the first time I’ve spent the holidays away from my own family. I was worried that I would feel sad and not very Christmas-y and wanted to absorb myself in a good novel. Having read Jeffrey Eugenides’ previous novel, Middlesex, and whipping through it in a matter of days, I thought his most recent novel would be a good choice. Unlike Middlesex, which centres around the life of a girl who discovers she is a hermaphrodite, The Marriage Plot contains no such fascinating first-person accounts. Instead, the novel features three twenty-something students at Brown University (two guys and one woman) and chronicles (in the third person) their relationships and experiences before and after graduation. There isn’t anything particularly interesting about any of the characters (save for Leonard, the manic depressive), yet the story is utterly gripping for some reason. I don’t think I can chalk it up to the need for escapism while visiting my in-laws, because a good chunk of the book was read while on a side trip to Barcelona with my husband. In fact, the book was so good that I have noted it down to be re-read at some point in the future: I raced through it so eagerly the first time that I’m certain I missed some grand metaphors or deep meaning in my haste. I highly recommend it.
The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides