Questions for Jeffrey Eugenides

The author of The Marriage Plot discusses his new novel, the character that’s not based on David Foster Wallace, and why he works in a windowless room.

Jessica Grose

It’s been nearly a decade since Jeffrey Eugenides released his Pulitzer Prize-winning, Oprah’s Book Club-approved, mega blockbuster novel Middlesex. The writer’s highly anticipated new novel, The Marriage Plot, is getting the promotion one would expect for such a long-awaited work, including a cowboy-style billboard in Times Square. Eugenides’ varmint-killing pose is a strange juxtaposition considering his new novel’s plot: It’s about a love triangle among three highly intellectual Brown University students in the early ‘80s named Madeleine, Leonard, and Mitchell. Madeleine is a beautiful, semiotics-obsessed WASP who totes a copy of Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse around with her wherever she goes; Madeleine is in love with Leonard, her charismatic, brilliant, and mentally ill classmate; Mitchell, a sensitive soul from Detroit, is hopelessly devoted to Madeleine. The novel follows the three twentysomethings in their senior year of college and into their freshman year of life.

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111006_INT_eugenides_marriage.jpg Jeffrey Eugenides

Photograph for Associated Press.

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