Middlesex Author:Jeffrey Eugenides The author of The Virgin Suicides won a Pulitzer Prize for this long-awaited second novel. In it, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a Grosse Pointe girls' school in 1974, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry blond classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them - along with Callie... more »9;s failure to develop physically - leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, "Cal" is not really a girl at all, and he tries to determine his true identity as he traces the rare gene responsible for his condition through his Detroit Greek family, back to the grandparents who fled to America after the Turks sacked Smyrna in 1922. Jeffrey Eugenides' novel is a grand fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, difficult promptings of desire.
"Epic and wondrous. Middlesex begins as a generous, tragi-comic family chronicle of immigration and assimilation, becomes along the way a social novel about Detroit, perhaps the most symbolic of American cities, and incorporates a heart-breaking tale of growing up awkward and lonely in '70s suburbia. It's a big, affectionate, often hilarious book."« less
Entirely too long, entirely too much backstory, and entirely undeserving of the Pulitzer Prize. Eudenides spends 3/4 of the book describing in great lengths an episodic history for all of the characters told from the point of view of a narrator who could not possibly know the level of detail he/she is giving.
The last 1/4 of the book is amazingly well-done, with flowing and informative prose, as well as giving the reader a plethora of medical information. I truly felt as if I was in the head of a hermaphrodite. The author excels at this. However, it reads incredibly slow, so only pick it up if you've got some time on your hands.
It's worth the read if you're either perseverant and don't mind a dense, background-heavy story, or if you're like me and are trying to read the Pulitzers.
Wonderful! Happy to see gender issues in main-stream literature! Though the book begins with a slower pace as the reader learns the rich history of Cal's grandparents, the second half of the novel flashs by with his personal story.
I loved the novel and wished it kept going... I didn't want to finish it knowing the story would be over. The reader is always aware of two time periods: the present Cal telling the story and his life unfolding during narration and, in the beginning the story of his family, while later in the novel the second time period is Cal's childhood.
I recommend this book if you have the time to devote to reading it, the intellegence to comprehend the wonderful literary techniques and vocabulary, and the trust in the author to deliver a brilliant story. Lastly, anyone studying sex and gender issues would thrill to read the second half, as a thorough workover of sociological nomemclature is utilized.
Cal has lived a life in two genders. Raised as a girl, he eventually discovers that he is a hermaphrodite, a person born with both male and female organs. But the story doesn't start here. To discover why Cal is the person he is, we have to go back in time to his grandparents in Greece, then to his parent's relationship, and finally back to Cal's life story as a little girl who found her life dramatically changing once she hit puberty. Middlesex is a wonderfully written novel about a controversial subject. In many ways, it is an epic. By the end of the novel, you will find yourself changed by the story of a little girl who grew up to discover that she was something else.
Fantastic book. It may take you a bit to get into the story - the author's style is unusual and the start of the book takes you into a foreign land. Beautifully crafted novel that will have you thinking about the story for days after.
I really liked this book. I'm a fan of long family dramas spanning multiple generations, but I've never read a book about a hermaphrodite before. There were a few parts in the story that I found a bit outlandish, the silk-worming in Detroit, for instance, with the cult-leader who ended up being none other than... (don't want to spoil it), the freak show incident in San Francisco, and the dramatic car chase at the end, just to name a few, great book regardless! I enjoyed the novel's focus on genetics. The sperm as narrator was brilliant, don't want to give too much away. I highly recommend this book, original!
For anyone that is going through a difficult time, whether it is with your sexuality or your appearance, or if you are just curious about the subject of hermaphroditism, this is the book to read. It tells the tale from infant to adult from the perspective of a hermaphrodite. I found this story incredibly interesting and was hooked right away, though at times it did tend to feel long. I would still recommend this book!
This was a facinating tale, taking me through a well-written romp. Never, was I bored with the story. This is one novel where the first-person narrative works well and provides us with an intimate view of his life growing up in Detrout as a girl and later as a man.
Loved this book. Dives into the immigrant experience, the downfall of detroit, the complexities of family dynamics, love, and over course, life as a hermaphrodite. Eugenides skillfully weaves it all together.
This book seemed really really long. It was interesting, and the POV was enlightening. I think though the story could have been told in well in less words. It was 530 pages and took forever to read. There were parts that I skimmed through, it seemed like there was a lot of filler information that didn't really enhance the story. (I agree with the reviewer who said there was too much information/backstory on the grandparents). At times I was confused about who Cal/Calliope's parents were. It seemed at one point it was Milton and Tessie, and then another point her father was Zizmo.
Aside from being a little too long, I enjoyed the ending. Probably not one I will read again, but it wasn't bad.
This was a truly terrific book - beautifully-written, wonderful use of language, and a page-turner to boot. Even though it is quite long, I tore through it quickly and was sad when it ended. The subject matter, which revolves around hermaphroditism, may be too much for some to take, but honestly, it was almost secondary to the rest of the narrative, which was about the journey of a family that immigrates from Greece. Highly recommended.
This novel, published in 2002, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Ambassador Book Award. It's a powerful book that makes one think about life, one's heritage, adapting to life and change. A saga about an immigrating family, the book is narrated by Cal who begins the tale with his grandparents and their life in a small town in Greece. When the Turks invade many of the Greeks leave the country including the grandparents who move to Detroit. The story spins out from that point as the family grows. I recommend this one to anyone who wants a serious, mind-boggling experience.
Loved, loved, loved this book. The style of writing was so interesting by avoiding story telling on a superficial level and takes you to a higher level of reading. THe topic covers multi-generational history and issues, some you are acquainted with and other topics which you may have never thought about. It is not a regurgitation of a common theme of life angst. Can't wait to read his latest work.