Middlesex

Middlesex

Book - 2003
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Spanning eight decades and chronicling the wild ride of a Greek-American family through the vicissitudes of the twentieth century, Jeffrey Eugenides' novel on one level tells a traditional story about three generations of an immigrant family -- blessed and cursed with generous doses of tragedy and high comedy. But there's a provocative twist. Cal, the narrator -- also Callie -- is an hermaphrodite. And the explanation for this takes us spooling back in time, through a breathtaking review of the twentieth century, to 1922, when the Turks sacked Smyrna and Callie's grandparents fled for their lives. Back to a tiny village in Asia Minor where two lovers, and one rare genetic mutation, set our narrator's life in motion.
Publisher: New York : Picador/Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2003, c2002
Edition: 1st Picador ed
ISBN: 9780312422158
0312422156
Characteristics: viii, 529 p. ; 21 cm

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b
britprincess1ajax
Feb 26, 2017

MIDDLESEX is a once-in-a-lifetime book, a novel that spans generations in the style of FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE WHISTLE STOP CAFE but for good reason for it tells the story of a gene abnormality that can be traced back to a tiny village generations ago. This novel is an immigrant story, a Depression survival tale, a love-triangle romance, a triumphant rags-to-riches success yarn, a coming-of-age YA chronicle, a Kerouac-esque road read, and a gender-bending foray into sexual politics and gender identity. But, above all, MIDDLESEX is about family, specifically the Stephanides clan and their rollercoaster trek through life. Everybody has a family and can relate to the ties that bind and sometimes the bonds that break. It's a beautiful story about living honestly; with that honesty comes laughter, deep sorrow, and tender moments. It's one of the best novels I've ever read, profound without pretension. It feels like nonfiction in moments, so raw that a reader is compelled to believe it must stem from reality. I will not delve into the details so as not to ruin what is a spectacular read. Without question, I highly recommend reading MIDDLESEX.

b
becker
Jan 11, 2017

This book was nothing at all like what I was expecting and it continued to surprise me throughout. It captures little moments in history and deals with all kinds of social and political issues but does this within the body of a wonderful story. It is filled with wit and humour. There are so many things to admire about this book but when it comes down to it...it was just a great reading experience.

s
sonoraanne
Sep 28, 2016

First half of book was more backstory to the main event -- the life of Callie/Cal. I found the slow first half did not add to the important part of the story focused on her/him.

j
jwis
Jul 29, 2016

This novel had everything. It had historical content from several regions of the world. It spanned several generations in an interestingly well written format. It was a coming of age tale. And the research and perspective regarding transgender issues was illuminating.

e
Ethan_Annis
Jul 13, 2016

Middlesex is a magnificent, sweeping novel. The narrator, a transgender person, beautifully describes the history of his family starting in Greece and immigrating to Detroit. The family history is entwined with the history of the places, which Eugenides brings to life. The narrative also explores the human desire to neatly fit people into one gender and the narrator’s struggles to find an identity within a body that is Middlesex.

m
modestgoddess
Jun 25, 2016

Enjoyed this very much. That being said, I'm not entirely convinced it needed to be as long as it was, and the digression off into the grandmother's working life in the black neighbourhood of Detroit didn't really add much to the tale as a whole - for me, anyway. It was as well-written as the rest, but I couldn't see what it contributed.... Still - a marvellous read, playful and complicated and human and beautifully written. Something to savour.

r
ryner
Jun 17, 2016

In this family saga our narrator Cal describes in great detail the flight of his ethnically Greek grandparents from their native village in Turkey, their subsequent immigration and establishment of a family business in Detroit, and how Cal came to be who he is, in more ways than one.

For a week I was fully absorbed by this mesmerizing book -- absolutely unputdownable and well-deserving of its Pulitzer.

h
HujeBohoc
Jun 06, 2016

This is a huge book. It spans almost a century in the life of three generations of Greek-Americans, from the grand-parents' life in Asia Minor (Western Turkey) to the narrator's upbringing in Detroit. I learned tons of stuff on the war between Grece and Turkey, the destruction of Smyrna, the Nation of Islam, the 1967 riots in Detroit, and hermaphrodites. Fiction that makes you learn!

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 02, 2016

Wow, what a surprise. A fabulous read and not at all what I expected. There were times when my love for the novel wavered, but Eugenides successfully pulled these loose threads together one by one to make a wonderful piece of fiction.

d
derilyn
Nov 27, 2015

For the most part I enjoyed this book, however I found this a slow go, for the last half.

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b
britprincess1ajax
Feb 26, 2017

"This was 1988. Maybe the time had finally come when anyone—or at least not the same old someones—could be President. Behold the banners at the Democratic Convention! Look at the bumper stickers on all the Volvos. 'Dukakis.' A name with more than two vowels in it running for President! The last time that had happened was Eisenhower (who looked good on a tank). Generally speaking, Americans like their presidents to have no more than two vowels. Truman. Johnson. Nixon. Clinton. If they have more than two vowels (Reagan), they can have no more than two syllables. Even better is one syllable and one vowel: Bush. Had to do that twice. Why did Mario Cuomo decide against running for President? What conclusion did he come to as he withdrew to think the matter through? Unlike Michael Dukakis, who was from academic Massachusetts, Mario Cuomo was from New York and knew what was what. Cuomo knew he’d never win. Too liberal for the moment, certainly. But also: too many vowels."

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind.

SPL_STARR Jun 16, 2015

"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."

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regina123 Aug 03, 2012

regina123 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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westiestimestwo
Jul 28, 2010

Pulitzer Prize winner

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