Two award-winning novelists on the paths of lust and love

In their latest novels, Jeffrey Eugenides and Anne Enright at first seem to offer familiar stories about the course of true love never running smooth. But both books are memorable for the way they defy expectations: these lovers' discourses collide with reality in messy, satisfying ways.

After Eugenides' gender-bending, Pulitzer Prize--winning Middlesex (2002) and the tricky communal narration of his 1993 debut, The Virgin Suicides, The Marriage Plot's unadorned title and gently comic tone suggest relatively modest ambitions. At 1980s Brown, Madeleine Hanna majors in English, even as she realizes that "English was what people who didn't know what to major...

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