Saturday, November 12, 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 Carolyn Kellogg of the Jacket Copy blog:

JC: You have such tremendous skill for really evocative detail – I was wondering how you access those memories. In one scene, I don’t even know whose point of view it is, somebody looks and the pull on a shade is like a life preserver --

JE: It’s Mitchell, when he’s seeing the priest for the catechism. I have a good memory for early life. My visual memory is good about childhood and adolescence, and less good in the last 10 years. I could probably tell you less what happened in the last 10 years. I remember what houses looked like, sometimes they just pop into my head.

JC: You’ve said in interviews that writing autobiographically, you put too much in.

JE: I put too much in in the one section about Mitchell in India. Because that’s the part that I actually lived. My memories were competing with the fictional story of Mitchell -- it made it difficult to write, because I had many more episodes that I remembered that seemed significant to me. When I looked at it as a novel, I realized those things didn’t need to be there; they were just there because they happened to me. Whereas when I was writing the Leonard or Madeleine section, even though some of the things that happened to them would come from my life as well, I knew...[read on]
Read why Eugenides decided to use his alma mater, Brown, as a setting.

--Marshal Zeringue