- Paperback: 260 pages
- Publisher: Fourth Estate; 01 edition (20 Jun. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007524307
- ISBN-13: 978-0007524303
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 429 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Virgin Suicides Paperback – 20 Jun 2013
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'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
From the Inside Flap
Previously adapted into a critically acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola starring Kirsten Dunst, this is the story of the five Lisbon sisters - beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the entire neighbourhood.
The boys that once loved them from afar are now grown men, determined to understand a tragedy that has always defied explanation. For still, the question remains - why did all five of the Lisbon girls take their own lives?
This hypnotic and unforgettable novel treats adolescent love and death with haunting sensitivity and dark humour, and creates a coming-of-age story unlike any of our time.
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The book follows three generations of a family, culminating in our intriguing narrator. We pick the family up in a forgotten old world conflict, and follow them across the Atlantic to a more familiar western world. Chance encounters do enough to place the families in their history, in a way that is entertaining but maybe a little corny too. When we come to the narrator the book zooms in, and becomes less of a historical immigrant tale and more of a teenage coming of age drama.
This variety makes for an interesting novel, that by the end I couldn't stop reading. There's some great little moments too, for example when the narrator's grandmother spoke English, her second language, it perfectly captured what that would sound like.
I'm glad I read this, and I'd recommend it. It reminded me a little of The Godfather, but without the crime. I know that sounds like it'll be rubbish, but actually it was really great.
But it's a beautiful, thought-provoking and mournful read about lost hope and childhood - not just for the girls but the posse of boys who grew up with them, including the narrator. The boys' obsession follows them throughout their lives, undermining their relationships with women and life in general in the decades after the girls have died. It's fitting that the boys were there for the defining moments of the girls' lives but this stalkerish behaviour can feel uncomfortable and was only explained in the very last pages, giving it a rounded but tragic conclusion.
Highly recommended with some missing steps and a slow pace which is why it's a four, not five-star book - but one which will stay with you long after you finish the final page. I'll definitely be reading his other books - Middlesex next.
Although it's a tragic story I didn't care much for any of the characters. It's hard to understand why the sisters were so attractive for so long to their male peers. Some of the author's descriptions left me feeling a bit queasy I must admit! There's an element of mystery surrounding the sisters - their lives and deaths - but why the boys' obsession with them continued into adulthood is an even bigger mystery. The dark humour was the most entertaining part of the book for me. The author's witty and shrewd observations of their very American middle class neighbourhood were very amusing so the actual suicides seemed funny too. In fact I thought the whole book was quite lighthearted and not to be taken too seriously because neither the characters nor the situation were very credible.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book but it's not very long and for interest's sake it's worth a read.
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