This book eventually lost me. Its definitely engrossing, and I can see how its a bestseller and had the draw to be turned into a television show. ButThis book eventually lost me. Its definitely engrossing, and I can see how its a bestseller and had the draw to be turned into a television show. But it did eventually lose me--I'm not sure at what moment exactly or how it lost me. But somewhere halfway through the book, the enthrallment started to dim, and I never did rediscover it. Glad I read it, but do not think I will be picking up the rest of the series at the moment. ...more
Sometimes you finish a book and can't help but realize what you hold in your hands is a person's interior lifetime. Every poetic phrase they've thoughSometimes you finish a book and can't help but realize what you hold in your hands is a person's interior lifetime. Every poetic phrase they've thought; every interesting character observed; every moment so beautiful you can't help but attempt to freeze time and in it forever live-- sometimes you read a book and recognize it as a lifetime of such things. You understand that such a book is not a work of art, its a work of a life.
There are dozens of passages I underlined in this book. Sentences and phrases that express some piece of humanity in the loveliest of prose. There are few comments written in the margin of my text next to these ink markings; there is nothing left to add.
Yes, there are some things I wish I could change. As a female reader in the 21st century, I fervently miss beautiful works with identifiable female characters. There are long passages of this book where I wish the female being described could be more two-dimensional. I yearn for this because so few male-authored books have it. And there are so many male-authored books with tales too good to not read them. But overall, this book details the lives of sailors over the course of a century, the lives of those who have long rested in the sea and those who finished their lives alongside it. That story is primarily a tale of men, though the author does certainly dip into the other half of that life, mentioning the women left at home, with children to raise and no graveside to mourn at.
After finishing this work, all I can really say is that I'm undone. I'm completely undone. ...more
Eugenides books are often those that I find myself unable to put down. I want to find out what happens, I want to see how the story unfolds and the chEugenides books are often those that I find myself unable to put down. I want to find out what happens, I want to see how the story unfolds and the characters develop. Books like this can be cerebrally engaging as well, but they are not always. I've found that addictive books, those we finish in a day or two, are often (but not always) those that read as guilty pleasures, and play on our emotions and tug on the heartstrings, but do not always engage the critical thinking parts of our minds.
The Marriage Plot does both these things. While there are certainly such emotionally moments in The Marriage Plot, the book is also filled with thought-provoking paragraphs and genuinely interesting information as we read about the thoughts and works of the characters in literature, religion and biology. The discussion of literature, especially Eugenides/Madeleine's thoughts on 'the marriage plot' theory, have been tumbling about my brain since I began the book. And this is probably my favorite part of reading a good, interesting and engaging book--they stay with you long after you've read the last page. Certainly, Eugenides' latest novel falls into this category for me, and will continue to occupy my mind for a long time to come.
(Some days we just don't feel as articulate as others. Please don't let my inarticulate review, if anyone should read this, turn you off of reading such a delightful and stimulating a book as this)...more
If you've read my reviews, or talked to me about books, you probably know my absolute favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut gets at such real, unIf you've read my reviews, or talked to me about books, you probably know my absolute favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut gets at such real, universal truths unlike any other author I've encountered. Vonnegut is the product of his experiences as a member of 'the greatest generation'--those that survived the Great Depression, served in World War II and came home to the U.S. to forge a new level of middle class materialism. It is this world, as well as the world he saw in WWII, that Vonnegut captures so brilliantly in his books.
If Vonnegut is the author of this "greatest" generation, Murakami might be the author of some generation following. Like Vonnegut, Murakami eloquently captures human truths about the world we've created in the late twentieth century (Dance Dance Dance was originally published in 1994). Within this novel, Murakami invokes the myths and rituals we create for ourselves to survive in this increasingly connected and yet disconnected world--our own 'spells to conquer helplessness,' without such tricks we might not truly survive. The narrator's repeated musings about living in "advanced capitalism" read like Vonnegut's own refrain 'So it goes,' conjuring a sense of resignation in the face of capitalism as a monolith. If we, as Murakami writes, have to create our own spells for our own salvation, it is only because "advanced capitalism has transcended itself..financial dealings have practically become a religious activity. The new mysticism." We are left to navigate a world whose sense of scared can be bought in a store.
Perhaps what I find most brilliant in this book, however, is Murakami's ability to move a plot forward through inaction. How often do modern stories take time for inaction? In the era of blockbuster movies utilizing special effects like very before, the modern viewer is propelled through a narrative with little time for reflection or pause. At several points in this novel, though, Murakami's narrator makes a point of slowing down, taking no moves, making no action. The plot, however, still advances. The forward movement of the plot reveals to the reader that people and place intersect how they will, and it is not exclusively through frenzied movement or activity alone that we may uncover our own life's path. ...more