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The Virgin Suicides Paperback – 20 Jun 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (20 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007524307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007524303
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,429 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.

Product Description

Review

'A Catcher in the Rye for our time' Observer

'Entire and unstoppable … a sparkling work' The Times

'Wonderfully original' Independent

‘Eugenides is blessed with the storyteller's most magical gift, the ability to transform the mundane into the extraordinary’ New York Times

Book Description

The international bestseller, reissued to coincide with the publication of The Marriage Plot --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By imla on 5 April 2006
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 May 2002
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Frances Stott TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
I find this novel hard to summarise, as there is little in the way of plot, I never felt I really got to know the characters, and as it builds up to its (slow) climax, there are few surprises. And yet...

For a start, it is quite beautifully written. The writing drew me in where the plot did not, and oddly, it was enough to keep me reading - and enjoying - the book. The first of the five sisters to commit suicded dies at the beginning of the novel, and the story is told from the point of view of an anonymous member of a group of young men who watch, befriend and are fascinated by the girls. We never discover the identity of the narrator, nor do we need to. The girls themselves - vague, amorphous creatures; almost two-dimensional - never really came to life for me, but seemed to drift through the narrative like the pale ghosts they were to become. Their parents - weird, drunken mother and helpless father - are equally vague characters, and it's easy to understand the facination this odd family hold for their neighbours.

As the story builds towards the deaths of the remaining four sisters, there is some tension, but never enough to hold my attention on its own, and I found the ending rather flat. I was left slightly bewildered, but also with the feeling that I had read a good novel.

Would I recommend it? I'm not sure. If you like beautiful writing and unusual stories, then this may be for you. It's not the kind of book I would give to friends, and yet I'm glad I read it.

Three and a half stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lauren G on 4 Dec. 2012
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Apart from hating the cover, (not the one shown here) and the insidiousness of the male-gaze narrative, I have to admit that this book is well written, remarkably attentive to its agenda though perhaps a little overweening. It concerns the deaths of five female siblings whose mother is highly protective of her daughters and whose father is weak enough to just go along with things to keep the peace.

The first death is of the youngest - Cecelia aged 13, and she cuts her wrists in the bath. She survives, but then throws herself onto a spiked fence from a high window. Why should the death of this first child so haunt the group of boys who are relating the story? Who are these boys anyway, and why are they so attentively fixated on the remaining four girls?

We don't get the answers to any of the above questions and no one else ever really seems to understand in totality why the other sisters had to die. In fact, this group of narrators (presumably there is a main narrator? A spokesperson, perhaps?) do not sound or behave anything like the group of teenaged boys they are supposed to be. They sound (somewhat creepily) like Jeffrey Eugenides, a man with a deeply sensual interest in young girls - fixating on the perplexing question of why these girls (not all of them virgins incidentally) serially destroyed themselves. He knows, presumably, since he made the story up. But we are left with a sense of puzzlement. The life of the remaining four girls is one of complete withdrawal to privacy. No school, no shopping, no life outside the home. No one tries to find out and this acceptance of the disappearance of four girls from all and any social life feels unlikely.
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