In one of those quirks of timing, my first blog takes me out of Hamilton to place in Auckland, with a visit to Words Down Under, the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival. Surrounded by other Hamiltonians, I attended An Hour with Jeffrey Eugenides. Our book club recently discussed Eugenides’ most recent novel, The Marriage Plot. Kate de Goldi (author of The Ten O’Clock Question) was a well-researched and relaxed interviewer, making more sense out of the novel than I had succeeded in doing with a casual read. (There’s enough complexity for the novel to be a good book club book.)
Despite the gaps in my understanding of some of the novel’s themes, there was one line that especially resonated with me and which I quote to anyone who’ll listen – “English was what people who didn’t know what to major in majored in.”
Kim Hill’s interview with Jeffrey Eugenides on her Saturday morning programme covered some of the same content as the festival session and provides a rich backgrounder for enthusiastic Eugenides readers.
Eugenides is a modest and disarming interviewee – and then there was the pleasure of being on the receiving end of the gorgeous Eugenides smile as he signed my copy of The Marriage Plot.