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The Virgin Suicides [Paperback]

Jeffrey Eugenides
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
The Virgin Suicides: Reissued The Virgin Suicides: Reissued 4.0 out of 5 stars (154)
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Book Description

7 Oct 2002
The shocking thing about the girls was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their lives. Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux; the sisters' breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives disappear.


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: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,580 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

** 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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I got it but I didn't get it 5 April 2006
By imla
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic novel of adolescent love and obsession 12 May 2002
By A Customer
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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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "the insufficiency of explanations" 1 Feb 2007
By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
After reading Eugenides masterful Middlesex, I decided to go back and read his much slimmer debut novel in the hopes it was at least partially as good. While it's not quite as amazing as Middlesex, it is quite good in its own peculiar way. However, those who like their novels to answer the questions they raise should be forewarned, as they will likely find it a rather unsatisfying experience.

Set in the early '70s in the tony Detroit suburb of Grosse Point, the story's premise is outlined in the very first paragraph: over the course of a year, all five of the teenaged Lisbon sisters commit suicide. This year is described in an unusual second-person plural voice which is that of a group of neighborhood boys (now men) who, some twenty years later, are reviewing the results of their "investigation" into the suicides. (There doesn't seem be any particular point to laying this out as an investigation, as opposed to a memoir, and this framework is a little shaky in that various "exhibits" and "attachments" are referred to in the narrative, but unavailable to the reader.)

So while the reader is aware from the start that this is a tragedy, the expectation is that the story will go on to explain why this occurred, what drove the girls to do this. And while the story beautifully details that dismal year, and reports on all the speculation by the neighborhood adults who project their own worldviews onto the tragedy, it concludes: "We were certain only of the insufficiency of explanations." And that is presumably the main point of the book --that suicide cannot ever be explained because we can never have access to the person's thoughts and emotions. This also explains the use of the second-person perspective, as Eugenides implicitly rejects the notion of the omniscient narrator.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simply mesmerizing debut novel 20 April 2003
By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother
In the middle or reading it. Finding it contrived and too in love with itself. Far too pseudish. Couldn't care less about any of the characters or story. Will I finish it? Read more
Published 4 days ago by paj
1.0 out of 5 stars bore
wanted to love it but found it boring beyond belief. major struggle to even reach the half way mark and couldnt put myself through even trying to finish it. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Ken Tattersall
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastically odd
Published 18 days ago by Miss L. Biggadike
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An amazing book! A MUST read!
Published 22 days ago by Shona
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much of a plot..
It may be an unpopular opinion, since I was drawn to this book because of it's rave reviews and hype, but whilst I liked the book, I can't say I enjoyed it a lot. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Miss S. Gorton
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Was looking forward to this, but ultimately disappointed. From the synopsis it sounded good and was a choice from my book club. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Anna Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars an author worth waiting for
Like Donna Tartt, Eugenides does not have a prolific output. But who cares when you have the opportunity to read someone as insightful and as lyrical as he is? Read more
Published 5 months ago by live consumer
5.0 out of 5 stars Kept on 'til the end.
Aren't the 99p Kindle purchases wonderful, persuading us to buy books we wouldn't look at normally? I found this tale - and the tone of the whole book- quite fascinating.
Published 5 months ago by margins
3.0 out of 5 stars Unique and stimulating, but with a surprisingly sparse plot
Based on a very interesting concept, this is a highly original novel with an unusual surreal quality. Read more
Published 5 months ago by LilacLemon
2.0 out of 5 stars Its rubbish
There is hardly a storyline to it. Its told by some boys who spy on these girls in the house opposite. Please please don't buy it.
Published 6 months ago by Sarah
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