Well, I’m back in the outs again. Jefferey Eugenides is another Pulitzer winner whose latest work I consider a loser. I tried Middlesex on disc, and found it fascinating and original. Then I opened up The Marriage Plot. What I found was the sort of adolescent emotio-literary maundering that Geothe made famous in The Sorrows of Young Werther without any of the redeeming literary excellence of that book. I majored in English at a prestigious university and consider myself fairly widely read, but the level of abstruse references Eugenides throws around is so far beyond my ken that I must consider the fault his rather than mine. It’s academic pretension at its most pretentious.
Heroine Madeleine is about to graduate from Brown. She’s depressed, having just broken up with the love of her life. We get various flashbacks on how they got together. When a love story revolves around a Semiotics seminar, you know you’re in for something special, what? Puppy-dogging his way after her is Mitchell, the third wheel, always there, but never in there. If you know what I mean. This goes on for over 400 pages, long after I lost interest in the whole lugubrious enterprise.
I don’t know where the audience for this kind of academic charlatanism comes from, I’m not in that crowd.