- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (3 May 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0747561621
- ISBN-13: 978-0747561620
- Product Dimensions: 32.8 x 32.8 x 50.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 351,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Middlesex Paperback – 3 May 2003
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Middlesex is a significantly more ambitious and much odder novel than Jeffrey Eugenides' resonant debut, The Virgin Suicides (on DVD), which was a bittersweet paean to adolescent love. This is a sprawling family saga, bursting with life, which spans three generations and crosses several continents. At its core, however, is another unorthodox but exquisite coming-of-age story.
The book's wily narrator and central character, Calliope Stephanides (named after the muse of epic poetry) is a hermaphrodite raised as a girl who comes to realise she is happier as a boy and is now living as a man in contemporary Berlin. Cal's tale begins, appropriately enough, in Greece (or more precisely Asia Minor)--an Aegean Strasbourg whose sovereignty is claimed by Greece and Turkey. In 1922 brother and sister Lefty and Desdemona Stephanides escaped their war-torn homeland and arrived, as man and wife, in Detroit, America. It is this coupling that ultimately begets their grandchild Calliope and her ambiguous sexuality, as she, or rather by then he, sanguinely notes:
Some people inherit houses; others painting or highly insured violin bows. Still others get Japanese tansu or a famous name. I got a recessive gene on fifth chromosome and some very rare family jewels indeed.As Cal recounts the experiences of the Stephanides clan in their new land--from the Depression to Nixon--he unfurls his own symbiotic odyssey to a new sex. Cal's narrative voice is arch, humorous and self aware, continually drawing attention to its authorial sleights of hand, but never exasperating. This is big, brainy novel--The Oracle of Delphi puts in an unlikely appearance in the middle of a teenage tryst--but one full of compassion. Eugenides' astonishingly rich story persistently engages the heart as well as the mind. --Travis Elborough --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Nine years in the writing and worth the wait." -- Elle, October 2002
"This is a truly extraordinary novel based around one brilliantly drawn character." -- Red, October 2002
"a warm and beautifully written novel that illuminates the part of the human soul that even biology cannot reach." -- Sunday Times, October 6th 2002
"one of the best American novels in years. ... a book of wonders and surprises." -- Books Quarterly, September 2002
'A transatlantic epic ... Middlesex isn't just a respectable sophomore effort; it's a towering achievement' -- Los Angeles Times
'Expansive and radiantly generous ... a colossal act of curiosity, of imagination and of love' -- New York Times
'The best American novel since The Corrections ... exuberant, ambitious, deeply compassionate and wildly funny' -- GQ
'This is a truly original and compelling novel, by turns sad, funny and moving' -- Daily Mail
'This year's most sumptuously enjoyable book ... superb' -- Sunday Times Books of the Year
Middlesex is a vibrant and rewarding read, This is an extravagant and thoroughly absorbing story. -- Olivia Glazebrook, Telegraph
Top Customer Reviews
That being said, I did enjoy the storyline. When the author stuck to the characters and their stories it was an enjoyable read, but way too often it was interrupted by everything else. I wanted to read on to learn what happened to the family. I enjoyed getting to know each generation and seeing how their experiences were influenced by the generation before. Had the book concentrated on this and had all the other stuff removed, I would probably recommend it. As it is, It's not one I would recommend.
Calliope is born first as a girl but her teen years cause some anxiety and then a shock that changes her life .
I liked the way the book was written and found it an easy read that kept me wanting to know more.
It is quite explicit sexually at times but not in a pornographic way. You feel really emotionally involved in Calliope's story.
I did wonder why he brother was called Chapter Eleven - surely that is tantamount to child abuse!!
They were certainly an original family and it did give an insight into Detroit history too.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written and informative about being Intersex but I found the story wrapped around it to be mundane.Published 3 months ago by JumeiraJames
From Greece to America in three generations, and he makes you love everyone of them. The writing is vivid like a film. The story is packed with action and quirks. Read morePublished 3 months ago by mari.reiza
A wonderfully absorbing dive into both the Greek 'Pre-history' of an Immigrant family and their version of the American Dream.Published 5 months ago by Juliet Benson
This is one of the best books I have read. A winning combination of brilliant characters, intriguing plot and excellent writing. I was sad to finish it.Published 8 months ago by gem
This is an a marvellous book, a real marvellous read. Written with amazing depth and intelligence.Published 9 months ago by Tony Durrant
Parts are slow very different story line and helps with the transgendered issuePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer