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Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Middlesex
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Middlesex is a significantly more ambitious and much odder novel than Jeffrey Eugenides' resonant debut, The Virgin Suicides (on DVD), which was a bittersweet paean to adolescent love. This is a sprawling family saga, bursting with life, which spans three generations and crosses several... show more
Middlesex is a significantly more ambitious and much odder novel than Jeffrey Eugenides' resonant debut, The Virgin Suicides (on DVD), which was a bittersweet paean to adolescent love. This is a sprawling family saga, bursting with life, which spans three generations and crosses several continents. At its core, however, is another unorthodox but exquisite coming-of-age story. The book's wily narrator and central character, Calliope Stephanides (named after the muse of epic poetry) is a hermaphrodite raised as a girl who comes to realise she is happier as a boy and is now living as a man in contemporary Berlin. Cal's tale begins, appropriately enough, in Greece (or more precisely Asia Minor)--an Aegean Strasbourg whose sovereignty is claimed by Greece and Turkey. In 1922 brother and sister Lefty and Desdemona Stephanides escaped their war-torn homeland and arrived, as man and wife, in Detroit, America. It is this coupling that ultimately begets their grandchild Calliope and her ambiguous sexuality, as she, or rather by then he, sanguinely notes: Some people inherit houses; others painting or highly insured violin bows. Still others get Japanese tansu or a famous name. I got a recessive gene on fifth chromosome and some very rare family jewels indeed. As Cal recounts the experiences of the Stephanides clan in their new land--from the Depression to Nixon--he unfurls his own symbiotic odyssey to a new sex. Cal's narrative voice is arch, humorous and self aware, continually drawing attention to its authorial sleights of hand, but never exasperating. This is big, brainy novel--The Oracle of Delphi puts in an unlikely appearance in the middle of a teenage tryst--but one full of compassion. Eugenides' astonishingly rich story persistently engages the heart as well as the mind. --Travis Elborough
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Format: paperback
ISBN: 9780007528646
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd
Pages no: 544
Edition language: English
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Community Reviews
Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents rated it
5.0 Middlesex
I love the style of writing this author uses. It's a little bit humorous and touching both without being too much of either. The entire story kept my attention. I didn't want to put it down to do real life things. So much of it was unexpected to me. It follows a family from Greece to America. ...
Scarlet's Web
Scarlet's Web rated it
2.5 Review: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
As part of the TBR Canine Jar Challenge, Middlesex was chosen by Enya. So far she's chosen The Exorcist which was a 5-star read and now Middlesex which I have to say I struggled with. There is a lot of reading to this one. It's not that it's over-written per se, more that it's over told. It ...
Ellen Allen Writes
Ellen Allen Writes rated it
3.0 Middlesex; riveting book about gender but still way too long
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (who wrote The Virgin Suicides) is a really interesting book about gender; what it really means to be male or female, whether our choices are hard-wired and how we assume our gender over time. It’s also a book about the genetic outcomes from the choices that people mak...
Barks At The Moon
Barks At The Moon rated it
3.0 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - A Rambling Mess of a Review In Reverse
My final update: Whelp, I finished but I can't sit here and say it was all fun and games. This book was work to finish. I'm sticking with my 3 star rating. In the end, it had moments of interest, moments of tedium and I felt that it was far too long for a book that didn't grab me emotionally. Ah wel...
A Reading Vocation
A Reading Vocation rated it
4.0 Book 42/100: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
I haven't read a "family epic" since The Thornbirds back in college, and this one is of a very different ilk.The idea of an intersex narrator interested me, a holdover from my earlier fixation on all things GLTBQ. If that is the main point of interest for other readers, I think it would be easy to b...
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