Every novel by Jeffrey Eugenides reads as if it were repudiating the one that came before. His second book, Middlesex, published nine years after his first, was a sprawling, intergenerational tale told in the capable and likable voice of a hermaphrodite named Cal; whereas The Virgin Suicides, his 1993 debut, was a dark, compact novel narrated in a highly stylized, formal register by a chorus of neighborhood boys turned middle-aged men. A sample size of two is hardly enough to indicate a pattern (or the lack of one), but with the publication of The Marriage Plot (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 416 pages, $28.00), one notices immediately how much it differs from those earlier novels, both of which suggest the story and the tone up front, on the first page, in the first sentence. Read More
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