Book Review #125 – Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides

Hey everyone!

Here is my review for Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides! Enjoy.

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Synopsis:

Middlesex tells the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides, and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family, who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City and the race riots of 1967 before moving out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret, and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

 

Pros:

  • well researched
  • very complex
  • interesting approach on intersex topic
  • Eugenides is a really good writer

 

Cons:

  • it’s not really about the intersex character but more about how genealogically and genetically they came to be
  • not really what I was expecting and wanted from it

 

Verdict:

This is a very strange book for me to talk about. In fact, I can’t even rate it. The Virgin Suicides is one of my favourite books of all time and I want to read anything Jeffrey Eugenides ever writes. The premise of this title really interested me but the problem is, it’s not what I was expecting. I wanted a story about an intersex character: their discoveries and traject in life. What I got was an historical fiction book about a greek immigrant family. The first half of this is mainly just about the main character’s grandparents journey from Greece to America. What made them leave their home country, and how they were really brother and sister but got around to hiding it. That was the first thing that really threw me off and affected my whole read. I couldn’t really ignore the whole incest thing and, especially, since it continues throughout the family’s history. Then when the story starts being set in America, it is still about historical events and not really about the character I was more interest in. Just about 70% in when the story focus on them. And that part is really great. You get really into their feelings and her journey of self discovery. But then, near the ending, it goes back to their family again. So, this is why this is so hard for me to get my mind around: some parts I really really loved; others I just couldn’t read past fast enough. It is a typical case of it’s not you, it’s me. And this book definitely wasn’t the one for me.

Also, I’m using they/them pronouns although I’m not sure they’re the most correct. I read this book in portuguese and it kept changing from she/her to he/him, so if I did wrong, please let me know.

Anyway, if you have read this one, please share your thoughts with me.

See you guys soon,

Cat.

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