With the often-ridiculous U.S. presidential race in full swing, there's at least a 47 percent chance you'd like to forget about politicians for a few hours by immersing yourself in a novel. But be careful which novel you choose, because some of them feature ... politicians!
As writers, we need to be aware of the ways in which our work can be read; weeding out the useful from the non-useful is an important skill, as is reading closely for what might be improved. But it can be a slippery slope.
My first "HuffPost Books" piece was posted a year ago this month, and I'd like to use that trivial anniversary to thank commenters for introducing me to many authors and novels I had never read before.
In The Marriage Plot, Eugenides alternates between two protagonists as they wind through their lives toward each other. By braiding these two protagonists together, he is able to link them emotionally.
The extensive detailing that gives the novel its raison d'être makes me think of Vladimir Nabokov --- especially since Nabokov, in Lolita, was as eager as Eugenides is here to mix pop-culture references and incredibly apt metaphors.
It would be as comforting as it is infuriating to believe that, but I'm not so sure. It's not so much that Jonathan Franzen is eating my lunch, I'm afraid, as that he's eating the lunch I should be eating, could be eating, but, through my own damn fault, have not been freaking eating.
Literary novels like The Marriage Plot and Freedom that reach a broad a readership are rare cultural opportunities to create dialogue about the societies represented within, the people represented within, and the women represented within.
The Marriage Plot, written in an age where the meaning of marriage has diminished ambiguously, and where the novel is an obsolete art form, establishes for itself an impossible task: to surmount its own uselessness.