Middlesex

by Jeffrey Eugenides

Knopf Canada | July 18, 2011 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

Middlesex is rated 4.3704 out of 5 by 27.
Spanning eight decades and chronicling the wild ride of a Greek-American family through the vicissitudes of the twentieth century, Jeffrey Eugenides’ witty, exuberant novel on one level tells a traditional story about three generations of a fantastic, absurd, lovable immigrant family -- blessed and cursed with generous doses of tragedy and high comedy.

But there’s a provocative twist. Cal, the narrator -- also Callie -- is a hermaphrodite. And the explanation for this takes us spooling back in time, through a breathtaking review of the twentieth century, to 1922, when the Turks sacked Smyrna and Callie’s grandparents fled for their lives. Back to a tiny village in Asia Minor where two lovers, and one rare genetic mutation, set our narrator’s life in motion.

Middlesex is a grand, utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire. It’s a brilliant exploration of divided people, divided families, divided cities and nations -- the connected halves that make up ourselves and our world. Justly acclaimed when it was released in Fall 2002, it announces the arrival of a major writer for our times.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: July 18, 2011

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307401944

ISBN - 13: 9780307401946

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book had me at its first four words, "I was born twice . . ." I had no idea what this book was about when I bought it. The title intrigued me only because my sister lives in Middlesex, England. I had never read anything before by Eugenides. What an amazing writer!!! He had me at, "I was born twice. . ." And what a unique story!!! Couldn't put the book down. Don't you just love books like that?!!
Date published: 2014-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epic This is one of my favouite books. I can't describe how much I loved the story, the characters, the everything. It takes a bit of time to get into it but once you do, it's an epic read. And those are rare and totally worth the effort.
Date published: 2011-08-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fiction disguised as fact This book begins with the words, “I was born twice,” and perhaps for that reason I feel completely justified in having read the first chapter numerous times. You see, the story simply demanded more of my attention than I was prepared to offer and required serial segments of uninterrupted time. As you probably know, Middlesex is the story of Calliope’s remarkable transformation into Cal. A story which documents the history of a genetic mutation which stretches back for generations but is documented in detail for three. It begins with the story of Cal’s grandparents – Greek immigrants who came to live in Detroit, it is followed by the story of their children and ends with the story of Cal, who is one of their grandchildren. In delectable prose accompanied by vivid imagery, Cal unveils the family history which led him to his present existence. One which he slowly reveals as the story progresses. Seeming to be impeccably researched, Middlesex is both eye opening and endearing. Tragic and triumphant. It is well worth the read if you have the time to savour the vignettes and appreciate the many layers of the stories. It is truly fiction disguised as fact.
Date published: 2010-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thought-provoking, engrossing story I picked up this book for $5 or $10 at Coles, figuring that, as an Oprah's pick, it would be a pretty good book. I was right. It was an interesting subject and the story was very well-written. I must say that at first, the topic took me out of my comfort zone, but I really felt for the main character and as I got into the story, I could not put this book down. I will definitely read this again.
Date published: 2010-03-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Deserving Pulitzer Prize Winner I admit it. I was surprised by Middlesex. Back when I got stuck in the doldrums of The Shipping News, finally tossing it overboard, then wasted my time with The Stone Diaries a year later, I subconsciously vowed to ignore the Pulitzer Prize forever. I broke that vow in '99 for The Hours, but that was because one of my mentors knew Cunningham, and he recommended The Hours because he knew my love for Mrs. Dalloway. I went straight back to my personal embargo, though, and it stuck until 2009 when I finally caved and read The Road. I wouldn't say the embargo lifted after that, but my conviction definitely waned, so when I needed something to listen to on my long commute and saw Jeffrey Eugenides's audiobook version of Middlesex on sale for $7.99, I caved and decided to give it a go. I expected crap when I started listening, but when Lucky and Desdemona hit Detroit I really started to dig it, and when it ended today with Cal/liope learning the truth of the 5-alpha-reductase deficiency from his YaYa, the recessive gene that made him an hermaphrodite, I realized I'd been a convert to Middlesex's beauty for the bulk of the book. I don't know if I would be as impressed with Middlesex if I had read it rather than listening to it because Kristoffer Tabori's vocal performance was absolutely mindblowing. I don't think I have heard too many vocal performances that can beat his work on Middlesex. He's no Orson Welles playing Lamont Cranston, but he kicks the crap out of most of the contemporary voice actors I've heard in animated movies and audiobooks. His voices were so distinct, his performance so complex, that characters masking their voices over telephones or through heating ducts had just enough of their original voices to be recognizable while still convincingly masking them from others in the story. Even better, Tabori turned much of Eugenides' prose into poetry. Or -- perhaps -- Tabori simply revealed the poetry of Eugenides' words that were there all along. I like to think that's the case because the way Eugenides writes about Detroit, San Francisco, and Smyrna is some of the most beautiful metroprose I've ever heard, and I found myself caring for every character Cal/liope came in contact with. I'd hate to know that Tabori's performance made the story better than it really is (although I have a sneaking suspicion that I'd have felt some of Eugenides' descriptions and characterizations were a touch precious without Tabori's performance). So I will never actually read this book now that I've listened to it. I like this story, and I want to keep it that way. So am I finally back reading the Pulitzer Prize winners? I dunno. Perhaps. But even if I do start reading them again, I won't be seeking them out. Maybe I'll buy them on audiotape, instead. You never know what the bargain bin is going to turn up.
Date published: 2010-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Two stories for the price of one An amazing novel, one just as much about immigration as the story of a hermaphrodite, which is perhaps why some readers are discouraged by the constant narration changes between the past and the present. Well worth the read, and a stunning Pulitzer-Prize winning text that I have been re-reading ever since.
Date published: 2008-11-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from GOOD!!! Very good read! The story takes you behind the story of a whole family and how time and a secret has changed them. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to anyone who wants a nice and interesting novel.
Date published: 2008-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very, Very Good One of the best books I have read. The book is rich in its meanings and creativity. It is not only a book exploring one's own sexuality, but a book about family values, familial pressures and social conformity. Euginides has created characters so real and lovable that you're a little disappointed that book ends.
Date published: 2008-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic This is a beautifully written book. The narration is phenomenal as it subtly changes as the character's changes are revealed.
Date published: 2008-04-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting and Engrossing Amazing story, and so involving. The main subject of the novel and aspects of incest aren't really something I may necessarily be comfortable with, but the story just pulls you in. It's so frank and gives you wonderful american historical anecdotes without being tedious. Well worth the read.
Date published: 2008-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An amazing novel This is a novel that immediately grabbed me. Despite addressing some topics that in some novels may turn the reader off or be considered to be taboo, the writing is so beautiful that these things are easily overlooked. The story of Cal is told in such a way that it is genuine, heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. I definitely didn't stop thinking about this novel when I put it down.
Date published: 2008-01-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Bizarre theme Absolutely hated this book. I struggled to get through the first 100 pages of wandering storyline then finally gave up.
Date published: 2008-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Book was well written. I'd give it 5 stars.
Date published: 2008-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! What a great book. It was so well written and so enjoyable to read. I decided to get this book after seeing it on the Oprah show. I really did not know what it was going to be all about. It's a brillent story and much more than I expected. I would highly recommend it!
Date published: 2008-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Oprah was right! What a fantastic read. Not only do you get intertwined in the main character's struggle and eventual triumph, but you experience the gift of time as you travel through the eras that define the current day. The imagery was rich, the narration full of eloquent prose. I loved this book.
Date published: 2008-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best books I've read in awhile! Not living too far away from Detroit and Greektown it brought back memories and also the race riots but the story of Calliope or Cal was very well written and the story was very good.
Date published: 2008-01-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review I started off reading this book not knowing what to expect. It took me a while to get into it, but once the story began to unfold, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. The concept was very unique, and the overall plot was well thought out. That being said, slogging through some of the details was sometimes painful. The book would have been improved with better editing. Furthermore, I did not feel any emotional connection with the characters. Consequently, the tragedies that befell the family did not affect me as deeply as they should have. Still, it was an interesting and thought provoking look into the life of a hermaphrodite. Certainly not the best book I've read, but also not one that I would discourage anyone from picking up.
Date published: 2007-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Book This is an amazing book. The writing is wonderful, the characters seem so real you feel you know them and you get a real feel for the place and time. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2007-11-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Appauling how could it have won any awards This book is slow and arduous and seems to be a social history lesson for the first 400 pages it is not until 420 we establish the real story of Cal, but i read on anticipating some fantastic ending. I was disappointed that my questions were merely passed over as though they were irrelevant. DO NOT BUY. As a book club member i have really enjoyed books such as the kite runner, the red tent, and this is no where near as good a read as those titles!
Date published: 2007-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wonderful read Eugenides deals with a controversial subject with humour and sensitivity. Callie is a character you will come to love, and feel for, and with.
Date published: 2007-10-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from what an insightful book I read this book -as most people did- because Oprah recommended it. I found it quite enjoyable and very interesting. I loved the way the author wrote the book and referred to us the reader throughout his story telling.
Date published: 2007-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Read I loved this book - I think his writing and description of events were wonderful - I would have no problem recommending this.
Date published: 2007-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Read!! I'm a very particular reader and choser of books. When I go into a store and find something that catches my eye I first pick it up and quickly read the back summary while feeling the weight of the book in my palm, then I flip through the pages and see how big or small the font is, preferably smaller as this will only elongate the time I spend reading the book, and then I possibly read several paragraphs of the actual book to get the feel of the authors style of writing. If all are pleasing, then I usually have a struggle to decide between several novels. This one was a huge PASS. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I hadn't even read the Virgin Suicides before. I like how the family dynamics were thoroughly explained, and you find out later that Cal is actually reading the 'minds' and thoughts of the characters in order to develop the narrative. Quick and interesting and perhaps the only drawback is that Eugenides hasn't a longer list of novels under his belt.
Date published: 2006-07-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very interesting When I first heard of this book, it sounded a little strange to me, but after I read the first chapter I couldn't put it down. The story of Cal is fascinating and the historical facts that the author weaves into the story of his life make the book one of the most interesting I have ever read. I woudl definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a great summer read.
Date published: 2006-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites..... I have read this book 3 times so far and I am still not sick of it. It is, by far, one of the best novels I have ever read. Cal is one of the most well-written characters and I quickly fell in love with her...er..him and the family. A great read!
Date published: 2005-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Middlesex Although at first glance, I thought this book to be little too strange , I was instantly drawn to the characters, their history, and thier motivations. I was waiting for a true hit to read this summer and found it in Middlesex. Thoughtfully written, with a keen sensitivity, this book does not judge. The story is an amazing journey and I am thrilled to have found it! A must read for all book lovers!!!
Date published: 2005-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I first read the Virgin Suicided and I couldn't put it down, so when this book came out I snatched it up. Both great books that I absolutely loved and enjoyed. I definately recommend them both, after you finish reading his books you can't help but think about the characters long after.
Date published: 2003-10-21

– More About This Product –

Middlesex

by Jeffrey Eugenides

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: July 18, 2011

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307401944

ISBN - 13: 9780307401946

From the Publisher

Spanning eight decades and chronicling the wild ride of a Greek-American family through the vicissitudes of the twentieth century, Jeffrey Eugenides’ witty, exuberant novel on one level tells a traditional story about three generations of a fantastic, absurd, lovable immigrant family -- blessed and cursed with generous doses of tragedy and high comedy.

But there’s a provocative twist. Cal, the narrator -- also Callie -- is a hermaphrodite. And the explanation for this takes us spooling back in time, through a breathtaking review of the twentieth century, to 1922, when the Turks sacked Smyrna and Callie’s grandparents fled for their lives. Back to a tiny village in Asia Minor where two lovers, and one rare genetic mutation, set our narrator’s life in motion.

Middlesex is a grand, utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire. It’s a brilliant exploration of divided people, divided families, divided cities and nations -- the connected halves that make up ourselves and our world. Justly acclaimed when it was released in Fall 2002, it announces the arrival of a major writer for our times.


From the Hardcover edition.
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