Friday, July 6, 2012


Pulitzer prize winning author Jeffery Eugenides second 

novel Middlesex is one of my favorite books of all time. 

His first book the Virgin Suicides is also quite a masterpiece. However, this story explores a lesser known facet of human life. The story is told through the eyes of Calliope  Stephanides a girl who is dealing with issue of being inter-sex. It Chronicles her life, growing up in the sixties as a girl in Detroit. Until she discovers that she is more male than female. The book examines the history of the Stephanides family and their struggle to make it to America from Greece. Family secrets are revealed and cultural taboos explored in an attempt to explain the unusual predicament the main character finds herself in. 

Eugenides uses instances from his own life to lend a hearty scoop of truth to his tale, though it is fiction. He developed the idea after reading Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-century French Hermaphrodite. Which is the tale of a french hermaphrodite who was born in the mid 1800's and forced to life her life as a male after illegally falling in love with a woman. Barbin later comitted suicide. Eugenides read the memoirs and was inspired to write Middlesex as a way to further explore the life of a middle-sexed person. The book not only focuses on gender reality, but also takes a inside look at American life during this time period. The novel also discusses the concepts of nature versus nurture, rebirth, and the adherence to gender roles. in addition the book discusses the pursuit of the American Dream. Though it is fiction, Eugenides writes in such a way that makes his main character Calliope seem very real. The insightful and descriptive nature of the book draws a reader in and lets them feel what it is to be middlesex. 

If you're looking for a lovely and touching piece of work, that will give you insight into the emotions of a person experiencing gender limbo than the book Middlesex is a great read and I recommend it.  It was a pleasure to read and I am sure you will find it so as well. Obviously the givers of Pulitzer's thought so  too.

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