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Middlesex: A Novel

A book by Jeffrey Eugenides

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A Fascinatingly Brilliant Book!

  • Jan 15, 2003
  • by
Rating:
+5
Jeffrey Eugenides has taken his time since his debut success with 'The Virgin Suicides' to ponder, create and elegantly write a story that almost defies telling. The title MIDDLESEX is typical of his canny abilities: it stands for the name of the Detroit home which is the ultimate dwelling of an extraordinarily interesting family of Greek emigrants, but it also refers the 'third gender' or hermaphrodite that is the embodiment of the main character. From the first paragraph the author accompanies us on a journey of history of his genetic grandparents and that history just happens to include volumes of information about Greek mythology, the countries of Turkey, Greece, and the conflicts of WWI and WWII that changed the face of Europe. His style is so engrossing that he never lets our attention stray: his complex family tales are always grounded by musings of the adult 'Cal' who has come to understand his particular physiognomy and gender identity. The book is at once hilarious comedy and touching tragedy much like the Greek plays of the characters inheritance. Eugenides has created indelible characters so well that as they reappear through this lengthy book there is no need to turn back to remind ourselves of their origin. MIDDLESEX is skillfully, intelligently written and is one of the finer major novels of 2002. Highly Recommended reading.

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More Middlesex (book) reviews
review by . June 30, 2010
I am convinced that Jeffrey Eugenides will be a name readers identify for generations to come.  I was impressed by his first novel, The Virgin Suicides, but Middlesex demonstrates an increased sense of the characters and truly keeps the reader in the grips of the plot.  The story of the main characters is compelling, while secondary characters who played parts in important historic events gave depth to a story that took place mostly in Detroit.     SPOILER ALERT- It is …
review by . June 25, 2010
This is an outstanding novel and a very worthy Pulitzer Prize winner. If you told me I'd enjoy a book about a hermaphrodite that finds their true sexual identity - not my kind of thing! But this is a very serious, well thought out, and comi-tragic novel about Cal. Calliope grew up thinking he was a girl until puberty came and oops! Actually not. But it's about much more than just that. The novel is epic in scope centering on the history of Calliope's family and exactly how it came …
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
Depressing
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
Well written story about a subject often ignored.
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
Very interesting book! Totally outside of what I normally read or expected.
Quick Tip by . June 17, 2010
Well crafted and on point.
Quick Tip by . June 17, 2010
one of my favorite books of all time. vast, sweeping -- i still am amazed by how intuitively eugenides writes as a female protagonist
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
this book is so good that when i first read it, i was convinced of my OWN hermaphroditism although i was born and identify as a female.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
This is one of the most original books I have ever read,it pulls you in with the very first line,and keeps you there until the end.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
awesome story
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Wiki

Middlesex is a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides. It was published in 2002 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2003.

The narrator and protagonist, Calliope Stephanides (later called "Cal"), an intersexed person of Greek descent, has 5-alpha-reductase deficiency. The bulk of the novel is devoted to telling his coming-of-age story growing up in Detroit, Michigan in the late 20th century. This story, however, is intertwined with elements of a family saga, meditations on the era's zeitgeist and bits of contemporary history.

The novel begins with the narrator, aged 41, deciding to tell the story of his recessive gene that caused him to be born Calliope and later to become Cal. The narration periodically returns to the frame story of present-day Cal, who is bearded, male and interested in women, foreshadowing the personal revelations of Callie.

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Details

ISBN-10: 0312427735 0374199698
ISBN-13: 978-0312427733 9780374199692
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux
Date Published: 2002
Format: Book : Fiction; English
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