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The Virgin Suicides Hardcover – 20 May 1993

4.2 out of 5 stars 393 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; First Edition edition (20 May 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747514666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747514664
  • Package Dimensions: 25.2 x 15.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (393 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,880,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

Top Customer Reviews

By P. G. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Feb. 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Middlesex is a great big rambling family saga. Its central theme, on which author Eugenides plays a number of variations, is that of people who find themselves caught between different cultures. That is not to say it is a story of the exclusion of outsiders, it is a more positive tale of people creating their own cultural space between societal norms. In sympathy with this and like the later Marriage Plot, the novel is structured around a central pivot, a family party at which the unborn central character Calliope Stephanides is sexed by her grandmother. Balanced around this fulcrum are the story of Cal's parents and grandparents, and on the other side, of Cal's own development.

Two generations before Cal's birth, Lefty and Desdemona are ethnic Greeks ejected from their village by the invading forces of Kemal Ataturk. They flee to America where they find themselves not quite acceptable to WASP society but very much part of the white world from the African American viewpoint. The title of the book refers, on a factual level, to the family home bought by Cal's parents on the margins of desirable middle class suburbs. It is however, fundamentally about Cal herself, who unbeknownst to anyone until her mid teens, is a genetic hermaphrodite, raised as a girl, but crossing between the poles to live in later life as the man dictated by his Y chromosome. Disclosing Cal's nature is not a spoiler, as it is revealed in the very early pages of the novel.

She only comes to centre stage, carving out her own space on the gender spectrum,in the second half. The first half is much more about the immigrant, and specifically Greek immigrant, experience in America, finding a space on the ethnic spectrum, and gradually becoming more American with each generation.
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Even though you know what is coming from the very beginning of reading the book it is nevertheless a shock as the girls are successful in committing the ultimate act.
The description of decay in the girls, the household and the community is so evocative.
A gripping story but probably not for those who have been affected by suicide in their own lives.
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I came across Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex only recently although the book won the Pullitzer Prize more than ten years ago. It's an epic story covering three generations of a Greek/American family from the time they were forced out of rural occupied Turkey in 1922 until the narrator's completion of his family's story - and his own self-acceptance - around the start of this millenium. Whilst at one level, this is a typical american family drama, it is unusual on several other levels and with some very specific themes. The author integrates ancient Greek myth into the modern narrative; there are several 'growing-up' stories; there is tragedy and survival. But what sets this novel apart and makes it a great read for me, is its sensitive handling of taboo themes: incestuous relationships (not abuse) in rural families and its consequences; chromosomal rarities in family lineages; and hermaphroditism - its recognition, treatment and acceptance. This is a big book - more than 500 pages - yet rich and deeply rewarding on many levels.
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This is, without a doubt, one of the most achingly beautiful books I have ever read. The prose was absolutely stunning (I have underlined countless sections); the descriptions were nothing short of magic and the author balances perfectly between comedy and tragedy. The whole novel felt tangibly real, as if I were reading the inner thoughts of the author himself. As cliched as it may sound, this novel really touched me and made me question where we come from and what exactly makes up who we are. Thought-provoking, devastating, and beautiful. I can't wait to read it again.
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After reading The Virgin Suicides I was particularly keen to try more of Eugenides books and picked Middlesex without really reading much about it only that it had received a lot of critical acclaim. I felt the book was a little slow to get into, a lot of the historical background and starting so far back in his lineage, to begin with felt a little unnecessary however once you are further into the story many of the elements come back into play. As a topic I know very little about I was incredibly interested and enlightened (obviously it is non-fiction) again my only critique would be that after spending so much time going to so much detail in the previous generations of his history and his childhood it seemed like part of the story was very much left out when it came to his older years. However it may be that this was the point, the book was more about the journey than the actual end point. In all I would highly recommend this book, it will open your mind, expand your horizons along with a beautiful story told in Eugenides signature, almost haunting, writing style.
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Amazing book! I love the writing style, the character concepts, and the story as a whole is just so great. Read it none stop. The last chapter and how it went is just what I wanted too, just good from start to finish! I could only wish it was longer but, then it wouldn't be the book I love.
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