The Marriage Plot, 2011 by Jeffrey Eugenides, 513 pages
Paperback-May 2012 Picador Edition
Date started/finished reading: December 20, 2012 – February 17, 2013
First and last sentences:
“To start with, look at all the books.”
“And Madeleine kept squinting, as though Mitchell was already far away, until finally, smiling gratefully, she answered, “Yes.”
“The solitude was extreme because it wasn’t physical. It was extreme because you felt it while in the company of the person you loved. It was extreme because it was in your head, the most solitary of places.”
Question to the author and his answer via The Huffington Post:
The first thing you introduce us to in this novel is Madeleine’s bookshelf, whereas the only book that seems to impact Leonard is the one that’s thrown at his head. Why did you choose to use books to describe the characters?
Because this book is about reading, I wanted to begin with that. I think, especially when you’re in college, each book that you’re reading tends to tell you who you are.
I just did an interview with Cicero magazine in Germany. They have a monthly column about people’s personal libraries. It was a really fun interview–I looked at my books, and most of them are still from my college days. Each one is really attached to specific memories. Some of them have things spilled on them, some of them smell like cigars. I know that attaching memories to books may be going out of the world, but while it lasts, it’s a strong record of your life.