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The Virgin Suicides Paperback – Jun 1994

4 out of 5 stars 179 customer reviews

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Paperback, Jun 1994
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; Reprint edition (Jun. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446670251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446670258
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,120,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeffrey Eugenides -- winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Middlesex -- was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1960. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published in 1993, and has since been translated into fifteen languages and made into a major motion picture. His second novel, Middlesex, was an international bestseller. Jeffrey Eugenides is the recipient of many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and The National Foundation for the Arts, a Whiting Writers' Award, and the Harold D. Vursell Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been a Fellow of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm of the DAAD and of the American Academy in Berlin. Jeffrey Eugenides lives in Berlin.

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Review

the term first novel" has connotations of apprenticeship that are out of place here" - Guardian (The Virgin Suicides is wonderfully original. It could prove to be the start of an important writing career. - Independent) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

** An American classic of our time, narrating the brief lives of the five entrancing Lisbon sisters, and now a major film for 2000 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide-it was Mary this time, and sleeping pills, like Therese-the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"The Virgin Suicides" has been my favourite novel since I was fifteen (ten long years ago now) and I enjoy it as much now as I did then. It is a beautifully sad tale that follows the Lisbon sisters, living in Grosse Pointe Michigan, watched from afar by their besotted adolescent boy neighbours who document their every move.

The novel opens with the attempted suicide of the youngest sister, Cecilia, who is found "like a Stoic" with bleeding wrists in the family bathtub. From this dramatic beginning, the reader is guided through the lives of the Lisbons (though from an outside perspective) as the girls are increasingly stifled by their over-protective parents in the face of a family tragedy that ultimately leads to the suicide of all five girls.

The narration style is unique as the story is told from the perspective of the Lisbon's neighbours, detailing their encounters with the mysterious creatures that they cannot fathom. We understand the girls only as the boys do - from caught glances and overheard words. They presume so much and know so little about these ethereal sisters that they seem to adore yet hardly know.

Eugenides writing is truly masterful; he manages to create a hazy atmosphere of teenage obsession with witty, albeit dark, humour. The prose is subtle yet mysterious, reflecting the nature of the novel and of the girls themselves. The language Eugenides employs sets a tone of sadness and fated tragedy as though the course events was imposible to avert.

The plot meanders through various experiences of the sisters that are examined minutely by their adolescent admirers; experiences that tell them so little of the reasons behind their eventual tragic deaths.
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Format: Paperback
I wanted to love this book. I wanted to fall head over heels in love with it. I thought I would aswell. Books about teenagers are my thing, books about suburbia are my thing, books about suicide are my thing. This should have been my thing, but it wasn't.
This is the story about the Lisbon girls, five sisters who all killed themselves, told by the neighbourhood boys who were, and still are, infatuated with them. It is written beautifully and from the opening few pages I thought this was going to be the perfect book but I soon became disappointed.
For me there was no plot, it was just an account of people's responses to the suicides. I struggled to get a grip of the characters, there were too many names mentioned without personalities attached - this wasn't too much of a problem but my big problem came when I realised I only felt like I knew two of the five Lisbon sisters. If I felt like I knew them more then perhaps I would have cared about the book.
I recognised the ending was good but it could have been better. I got a sense of knowing what the author was trying to say but feeling he hadn't quite managed to say it.
After looking at the other reviews I realise I am in the minority - proving everyone has a different opinion. All I can guess is that I just didn't get it.
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Format: Paperback
I saw the film and wanted to read the book to understand the concept more. I wasn't disappointed and was sucked in by the world the boys inhabit and the intensity of their feelings. The girls are indeed mystical creatures and fascinated me from beginning to end. This is a must for all who have seen the film and should not be missed!!!!!
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Format: Paperback
This is a really fantastic book, beautifully observed and and elegantly written. It tells the story of 5 teenage sisters who all commit suicide, one after the other.

The book is told from the perspective of the boys who fantasise about them. Although their voices merge, it is the insight into those teenage boys which is the most real and striking - their obsessive fascination and cataloguing, their curiosity about the girls and everything about them, at an age when most actual physical boy-girl contact was awkward fumbling and sweaty hand-holding.

The description of the decay of the family home as the family slowly sinks into despair is equally convincing.

You are totally swept up into Eugenides world, through his evocative descriptions of dust, smells, and tiny details of observation.

Coppola's film is good, but not as good as the book, because in the end the film is about the Lisbon sisters, who remain ultimately enigmatic in the book, whereas the book is about the boys who observe them.
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Format: Hardcover
Define Obsession.
A worryingly-touching novel depicting the struggles of five young girls attempting to grow in the most restrictive of capacities. The story of the suicides is told through the inquisitive eyes of one of the girls many besotted victims. Eugenides' image of obsession and yearning is the feature point of his novel and its jigsaw-like narration allows it to retain a wonderful sense of ambiguity. Eugenides major triumph is his ability to shock. In a novel which reveals its conclusion within the first two lines, it is amazing how it is able to create a false sense of hope from the reader. 'The Virgin Suicides' is beautifully eloquent and Eugenides' vivid imagery makes it a very engaging read. This skill is evident in his superb ability to produce a sense of awkwardness that almost makes the reader feel bad for prying. Even though Eugenides' is dealing with a difficult subject like suicide he still creates a dark and humourous account which actually lightens with every read. 'The Virgin Suicides' by Jeffrey Eugenides, which has now been adapted by Sofia Coppola to a feature-length film is coincidentally his first novel as is Sofia Coppola's directorial debut. The film takes a more light-hearted view of the situation whereas the book delivers the story with a more morbid and frightening truth. There are parts however where the novel loses its gripping edge. But it Eugenides is quick to pull it back on track and into the realms of surrealism. 'The Virgin Suicides' is a remarkable novel and Eugenides' melancholic tone throughout makes it so powerful and evocative.
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