I’m reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot right now, and there’s a lot to like. First, he is covering familiar territory for me–college in the eighties. But, more so, is his exploration of young adults trying to find themselves right out of college. The he-loves-her-but-she loves-someone-else plot is very much at the center of this sometimes humorous and moving novel.
One portion of the novel really affected me. One of the three main characters is bipolar, and Eugenides takes us through a mood swing that is so believable. At one point, with his medicine interfering in his ability to perform well at work and in the sack, and with his girlfriend pulling the ole “My mother doesn’t like you” line, our man seems on the verge of suicide. And reading what was happening to him, I understood. If he’d killed himself, it would have made perfect sense. Instead, he finds a way out of his depression and swings into mania. He ends up at a seashore taffy shop on the verge, it seems, of raping a high school girl. And again, it makes sense.
I also like how Eugenides talks about his writing, and that’s where the clip above comes in. Click the video and here what he says about how he came to the novel.