Letters of Life

A Well-Crafted Thumbnail of a Character In A Novel

To start with, look at all the books. There were her Edith Wharton novels. . . there were the dog-eared paperbacks assigned in her college courses, a lot of Dickens, a smidgen of Trollope, along with good helpings of Austen, George Elliot, and the redoubtable Bronte sisters. . . .  There was, in short, this mid-size but still portable library representing pretty much everything Madeleine had read in college, a collection of texts, seemingly chosen at random, whose focus slowly narrowed, like a personality test, a sophisticated one you couldn’t trick by anticipating the implications of its questions and finally got so lost in that your only recourse was to answer the simple truth. And then you waited for the result, hoping for ‘Artistic,’ or “Passionate,” thiinking you could live with “Sensitive,” secretly fearing “Narcissistic” and “Domestic, ” but finally being presented with an outcome that cut both ways and made you feel different depending on the time of day, the hour, or the guy you happened to be dating: “Incurable Romantic.” — Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot (2011)


This was why I bought his book after reading this opening paragraph. I knew this was the one.



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