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Middlesex: A Novel

A book by Jeffrey Eugenides

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Absorbing and Intriguing

  • Nov 11, 2009
Rating:
+4
"I was born twice..." this book begins. What an intriguing start. And the story lives up to the promise of those words. The past of a young man's grandparents makes a curious historical love story, taking the reader from the burning of Smyrna to the burning of a Detroit suburb, with odd detours through the beginnings of radical Islam and the American dream. I loved the quiet mystery of the main character, the challenge of unknown identity that slowly changes to known but strange. And I loved the challenge to the reader's preconceptions in the writing. How would we react? And what right would we have to complain? Cal, or Calliope, is Greek and American, man and woman, but above all human, and this delightfully human tale paints a picture of him that sings.

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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
Sheila Deeth ()
Ranked #42
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
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About this book

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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A Fine Balance

Oprahs Book Club 2000-2009

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