When I first read Middlesex, I was amazed and in awe of the story line that Eugenides had cleverly weaved. His characters were alive from the first page of the book, grabbing the readers attention and inviting them into a whirlwind adventure that starts in Greece and ends in America. The very first paragraph of the book is enticing and provokes the reader to turn the pages to be completely engulfed into the captivating story line.
Middlesex soon joined the ranks of my favorite books of all time – a list that includes Gone with the Wind and A Hundred Years of Solitude. This book was my introduction to Jeffrey Eugenides, an author who I have a lot of respect for because of his art. I went on to read The Virgin Suicides and quite enjoyed this book as well – despite it’s depressing nature.
Now you can only imagine my excitement and eagerness to get my hands onto Eugenides’ latest novel The Marriage Plot. This book was published in 2011, and finally made it to my reading list for 2013. I made the setting perfect – comfy sofa, cosy duvet, hot chocolate in hand and an evening of silence – to begin reading this book. What I wasn’t expecting was the amount of boredom I experienced within the first few pages…
For the firs time, Eugenides was not able to capture and retain my attention for long enough in order to sustain my interest in the novel. Not only is the story line a bit bland and slow moving, but the main character of the text is just too ordinary to devote an entire book to. However, do not get me wrong – as an English Literature graduate myself, I found myself relating to the character’s lectures and fellow students at university – but that was all.
The pace of the text takes too long to establish itself, with unnecessary stops along the way. While Madeline makes a good initial character to begin with, Eugenides spends too much time and too many chapters to establish her personality. Ultimately, she is a graduate who like many others, is confused and lost. Her experiences at university mold her character, however she is already set in her way of thinking without even knowing it herself.
As I said, as a literature graduate, I enjoyed her part of the novel since it relates the books she studied, the deconstructions and the discussions that followed – this was an interesting insight for someone who enjoys literature. However Eugenides fans who wanted wanted a good read that explores an interest perspective, it massively lacked substance.
Therefore, it is no surprise that I did not have the patience and motivation to pursue the rest of the books, abandoning it halfway since I was not ‘hooked’. Eugenides disappointed me in his work for the first time, but no hard feelings since he is the mastermind behind Middlesex. It surprises me that people enjoyed this novel since I found it slightly boring, bland and slow-paced. Maybe I will pick it up again soon, but for now – it is up on the bookshelf for 2013.