Monday, June 18, 2012
Middlesex, a best sellers list novel written by Jeffrey Eugenides, was published in 2002. Eugenides is also the author of The Virgin Suicides. Have you read that one? I have not. Mostly because it sounds like it will give me night terrors and I'm kind of a wimp like that. Feel free to change my mind on that. My trusty sister-in-law book reference hasn't read it either. She said it had too much teenage angst in it for her.
Middlesex is a family drama played out over three generations that culminates in the birth of Calliope Stephanides, who later on would find out that she is really a hermaphrodite. It's written in both first and third person but it seems to work well for this story. I enjoyed the flow of the novel and Calliope's matter of fact approach to coming to terms with the genetic cards he was dealt.
Some critics have said that Middlesex is too wordy. I would disagree, it is a long novel but there isn't pages and pages of scenery description or dwarf songs (Not that I'm complaining....JRR Tolkien. I do love your books too!). I enjoyed the language of the novel and think that it would be an example you could hold up in protest to someone trying to argue that the Twilight books were well written. Oh I liked Twilight just as much as the next girl but this book is so much more developed in terms of characters, back story, and language. The novel characterized the transmission of the autosomal recessive deficiency of the 5-alpha-reductase gene. Something commonly found among isolated communities that practice some degree of inbreeding. It had just enough science to catch my eye but not enough to worry about if that's not really your thing, or if you had trouble reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, for example.
I enjoyed Middlesex enough that should the opportunity present itself, I might give the Virgin Suicides a go. Even if the reading of it has to be confined to daylight hours.