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The Virgin Suicides Paperback – 7 Oct 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (7 Oct. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747560595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747560593
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,113 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

"Beautiful funny and touching… Eugenides is a skilful craftsman and a hypnotic storyteller." -- Jay McInerney

"Entire and unstoppable… a sparkling work." -- The Times

"One of the finest novels in many years - a Catcher in the Rye for our time" -- Observer

"The Virgin Suicides is wonderfully original. It could prove to be the start of an important writing career." -- Independent

"one of the finest novels - I have read in many years... a wonderful mixture of amusement, wistfulness and contained grief" -- John Banville

"the term "first novel" has connotations of apprenticeship that are out of place here" -- Guardian

"the book is as light as air, and as dense; it is also quietly, slyly funny, despite its melancholy subject." -- Observer

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

56 of 60 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 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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 April 2003
Format: Paperback
Jeffrey Eugenides' first novel The Virgin Suicides is an almost surreal, haunting, wholly unforgettable work of literary art. It has an almost unmatched depth and resonance that penetrates deeply into the ephemeral layers of life and humanity. In company with the vaguely revealed narrator and his former childhood friends, the reader becomes a peeping tom spying on the five young ladies next door and developing an intense need to understand their innermost thoughts and feelings and to come to know what terrible forces lurking inside that increasingly deteriorating house could possibly lead each of them to take their own lives. There's no real mystery to this story, as the reader is told from the very first page that the five girls will all commit suicide; the heart of the novel lies in the search for answers that can never truly be forthcoming.
The Lisbon girls - Cecilia (13), Lux (14), Bonnie (15), Mary (16), and Theresa (17) haunt every page of this novel; even as one reads about their lives during the tumultuous year in which all would commit suicide, one sees only ephemeral visions of what they could have been without any penetrating snapshots of their engaging in life in a literal sense. Cecilia, the youngest, is the first to go. Three weeks after slitting her wrists in an unsuccessful attempt to die, she leaves a party thrown for her own benefit and hurls herself from an upstairs window onto a picket fence. The neighborhood boys are there when it happens and thus feel an intense link to the lovely girls next door who die without ever really having lived.
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