by Jeffrey Eugenides, 2002, Picador, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York

Middlesex is the book I received for Christmas last year that immediately went to the bottom of the pile as the holiday yielded for me many books that I looked forward to reading in the coming year. I read virtually all of the other books I received until one day I found that Middlesex was the only one remaining. I think I may have been put off somewhat by the idea of reading a hermaphrodite’s story, maybe not because of the subject matter, but more because I thought it would not be very interesting.

I was immediately captured by this book and read it far faster than I wanted to. The characters in the book are exasperating while they are endearing. I won’t say much about the story other than to say that I enjoyed the story very much. My only complaint is that the so much of the story focused on the central character’s immediate family versus the character’s later experiences. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the story about the family members, but I found myself wanting to know more about the life of the primary individual. In this case a sequel would be welcome.

Eugenides’ writing is extremely clear and readable, so readable, in fact, that the reader may have a tendency to read the book too fast. My advice is to force yourself to slow down and enjoy it.


Middlesex — 1 Comment

  1. Middlesex is definitely one of those love-’em or hate-’em books. Nobody has a neutral reaction. Some people get lulled into thinking it’s a family story, with characters right out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and are floored when they get to the protagonist’s REAL problem. Others are able to put themselves in Eugenides’ hands and go with the flow of the story.

    I like how Eugenides, here as in The Virgin Suicides, registers the reactions to ordinary people caught up in a truly extraordinary event. I just wish he would manage to write more frequently than a book every 9 or 10 years.

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