audrey_e (audrey_e) wrote,

Book 46

46 MIDDLESEX Jeffrey Eugenides (USA, 2002)

Calliope Stephanides is the narrator of her Greek-American family saga from her great-parents incestuous relationship and flight to the US to her - or rather his - realization that he is a boy who was wrongly raised as a girl.

Middlesex is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Let me tell you right away, this is the best novel I have read so far this year, and there's only one month left to make me change my mind. 

The Virgin Suicides is to this day one of my very favorite novels, and Jeffrey Eugenides blew my mind once more.

Middlesex is family saga at its best because through research and the stories of incredibly well-developed characters, the author manages to tell America's story from the 20s onwards. It is a perfect blend of universal and specific. Calliope's journey is certainly out of the ordinary as she is intersex and partially blind to her condition for most of her difficult childhood. But Calliope's journey is also the more universal coming-of-age one that we all know and can relate to. And if there is something Eugenides knows how to write about, it is teenagers. He had already proved it with his first novel. 

Let me warn you though, Eugenides's writing is quite dense in this novel, and it may take about 60 pages to get used to. This is intensified by the regular flashforwards that may be slightly confusing at first. I saw reviews on Goodreads of readers who complained about the density and abandonned the novel early. I think it would be a shame to give up on such a book, so if you make an attempt and struggle, I would advise you to keep going. Calliope's voice is both moving and hilarious. He guided me through America's history while reminding me of my high school days in France.

Tags: books (2012)

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