Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jeffrey Eugenides

Jeffrey Eugenides's new novel is The Marriage Plot, a complicated college love story set in the early 1980s.

From his Q & A with Alexandra Alter at the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog:

I understand this book started out as a different novel that you were working on. How did it come about?

When I started this book, it was about a debutante party. After “Middlesex,” I gave myself one directive, to write a book more tightly dramatized than “Middlesex.” Instead of encompassing 70 years of history, it might be a few days or maybe a year. I was going to have the events tightly contained and learn how to write that kind of novel, because I’d never done that before. I started writing about the debutante party, a big family and everyone was coming home to attend. My idea was to write it in fairly short sections from lots of different points of view. I was doing that, then I got to this point where one of the daughters was coming home, Madeleine. I started writing her story and somewhere around there I came to the line that’s in “The Marriage Plot,” which was, “Madeleine’s love troubles began at a time when the French theory she was reading deconstructed the very notion of love.” And then, as I did that, I started writing about different things, the 80s and deconstruction and semiotic theory, and this young woman who was dealing with it and had mixed feelings about it. Next thing I knew, I had about 80 pages of a section that should have been two or three pages… I followed her and that’s when I had to separate the two.

When was this?

The debutante party book I started when I was writing “Middlesex.” A long time ago, back in the 90s. All of the major characters who are in the marriage plot are...[read on]
Discover which book changed Jeffrey Eugenides's life.

--Marshal Zeringue