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Sunday, June 05, 2005 :::

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Why I read it: It won a Pulitzer

What I think about it: Middlesex is a semi-involving epic chronicling the transformation of a hermaphrodite and the generations of ancestors whose intra-familial relationships were responsible for his/her condition. It is handsomely written with great characterizations and interesting historical perspectives about Greece during the Turkish invasion, Detroit during the race riots, and San Francisco during the sexual revolution, but it's curiously not as emotionally involving as I thought it would be. This is especially true of the main narrator Calliope (Cal), who is a vivid character, but I was never able to feel a strong attachment to him/her, even during his/her most difficult experiences. Maybe that's because her/his own identity is so unclear to him/herself that it becomes hard to identify with him/her. It's hard to understand someone who so clearly doesn't really understand his/herself. But in the end, the book comes together with a satisfying conclusion, reuniting multiple generations, and bringing the story full-circle in a heart-warming way. Definitely an original novel, but not as emotionally charged as I was hoping, and a couple of the plot points were slightly contrived. Still, a worthwhile read that had more than its share of inspired storytelling. It took me four months to read, though. Not because I'm a slow reader or anything. I was just busy.

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::: posted by dan at 10:12 PM :: #


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