Eugenides only publishes every hundred years or so (!), which is why this novel was eagerly anticipated after his Pulitzer Prize winning 'Middlesex' and his debut novel 'The Virgin Suicides'. I loved both those novels so I looked forward to 'The Marriage Plot'. This novel is set in the 80s and follows the college graduation and first few years after college life of three individuals - Leonard, a manic depressive science student, Mitchell, a shy religion student, and Maddie, the English lit major who both boys love. Maddie is writing a thesis on the marriage plots in works like Austen and the Brontes - Eugenides makes the point that these classic love plots happen in real life, no matter the decade or society.
This novel is not nearly as interesting as 'Middlesex' and doesn't have the atmosphere of the 'Suicides' but the characters were quite engaging. I loved the section following Mitchell's backpacking through Europe and India - brought back memories of feeling like a loser standing out like a sore thumb with huge bag, filthy cheap clothes and passport clumsily hidden in belt waist etc etc. I wonder how much backpacking has changed now? If you like Jonathon Franzen, Eugenides is very similar but more accessible.