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Middlesex: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club) by…
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Middlesex: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club) (original 2002; edition 2002)

by Jeffrey Eugenides

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23,06454386 (4.12)864
Member:lokeefe
Title:Middlesex: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)
Authors:Jeffrey Eugenides
Info:Picador (2002), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:
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Work details

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (2002)

  1. 101
    The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (sipthereader)
  2. 81
    Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (_debbie_)
    _debbie_: Both are (at least partially) historical novels with strong themes of identity, coming of age, and going against the mainstream to stay true to what you feel is right. Although one is set in Victorian England and the other isn't, they both have that same feel of rich language and descriptive place.… (more)
  3. 81
    The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (Othemts)
    Othemts: Multi-generational eccentric families, entrepreneurship, incest, the average made epic - yep, these books have it all!
  4. 93
    The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: share the same exquisite sense of setting: boring, but not terrible suburban America, second half of last century.
  5. 83
    A Widow for One Year by John Irving (readerbabe1984)
  6. 51
    As Nature Made Him by John Colapinto (librorumamans, librorumamans)
    librorumamans: The connection of this book to Middlesex is Eugenides' character, Dr Luce, who appears to be modelled on Dr John Money of Johns Hopkins University. As Nature Made Him is a non-fiction account of Money's experimental (and unsuccessful) sex reassignment of David Reimer, whose botched infant circumcision left him genitally mutilated. Both books compellingly look at the complexity of gender identity.… (more)
  7. 20
    Anywhere but Here by Mona Simpson (ainsleytewce)
    ainsleytewce: Both are very American stories, about families in the 20th century, fighting wars, starting businesses, raising families, and both feature a teenage protagonist.
  8. 64
    The Human Stain by Philip Roth (sarah-e)
    sarah-e: A character 'passes' in society - dealing with culture and identity.
  9. 10
    Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of a City by Marjorie Housepian Dobkin (Anonymous user)
  10. 32
    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (someproseandcons)
    someproseandcons: Both books are family and community sagas centered around secrets, and both books are carried by a strong and compelling voice.
  11. 10
    The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit by Thomas J. Sugrue (jacr)
    jacr: A scholarly discussion of the decline of Detroit and its race riots. People who liked Eugenides's fictional account of Detroit might be interested in this historical version.
  12. 10
    How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States by Joanne Meyerowitz (jacr)
  13. 32
    The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich (ainsleytewce)
    ainsleytewce: Both begin with immigrants who come to America at approximately the same time.
  14. 22
    Intersex: A Perilous Difference by Morgan Holmes (boat-song)
    boat-song: Contains an amazing chapter on Eugenides and Middlesex, and for those interested in gender, a must read.
  15. 11
    Labor of Love: The Story of One Man's Extraordinary Pregnancy by Thomas Beatie (infiniteletters)
  16. 00
    Getting Ghost: Two Young Lives and the Struggle for the Soul of an American City by Luke Bergmann (paulkid)
    paulkid: Get a little history of Detroit from the stories of the people who lived there.
  17. 00
    Sugarless by James Magruder (amberwitch)
    amberwitch: Similar topic and era
  18. 12
    Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: The destiny of an individual and a family bound up with that of a particular time and place.
  19. 01
    The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These sprawling novels feature an irrepressible and memorable protagonist. The Adventures of Augie March is set in the 1920s and Depression-era America; Middlesex tells the family history -- spanning the 20th century -- of a hermaphroditic main character.… (more)
  20. 01
    All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well by Tod Wodicka (BookshelfMonstrosity)

(see all 30 recommendations)

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» See also 864 mentions

English (528)  Italian (4)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (542)
Showing 1-5 of 528 (next | show all)
It took me a while to get into this book. I found Cal’s voice (the narrator) too confident in its apparent mastery, something like the omniscient narrator of a Franzen novel. But about halfway through the novel I was drawn in by what I perceived as Cal’s desperation. I started to think that his apparent sense of mastery was really masking an anxiety about what he couldn’t know, ever, about his own history or his family’s history. The plot itself hurtles forward at a dynamic pace, and Cal’s gender transformation unfolds in thoughtful, compassionate detail. I would teach this novel if it weren’t so long. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jul 9, 2018 |
A how-to on weaving research, time. history, and family into a novel. With surprises, feints, and jabs to the groin, like a Doctorow novel but more fun (I still have not learned to use fun as an adjective as my 20something friends do--but the book was so fun).The lecture on hermaphoditeism could have been replaced with a booklet tucked in the dustcover, and the ending is just an end, nothing spectacular, but still it's a five star read. ( )
  kerns222 | Jun 9, 2018 |
Assolutamente, fa parte di quei libri giusti al momento giusto. Peccato, peccato non averlo letto in lingua originale! ( )
  Eva_Filoramo | May 3, 2018 |
I'm not sure what to say about this, except holy crap. It blew my mind. I wish I had read this sooner. There's so much to say that I think I won't say anything at all, except READ THIS BOOK. It's amazing. ( )
  gossamerchild88 | Mar 30, 2018 |
I need to try again. ( )
  KarlaC | Mar 26, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 528 (next | show all)
This novel repeats the stand-out achievements of The Virgin Suicides: an ability to describe the horrible in a comic voice, an unusual form of narration and an eye for bizarre detail.
added by SqueakyChu | editGuardian, Mark Lawson (Oct 5, 2002)
 
Eugenides does such a superb job of capturing the ironies and trade-offs of assimilation that Calliope's evolution into Cal doesn't feel sudden at all, but more like a transformation we've been through ourselves.
 
Some of this footloose book is charming. Most of it is middling.
added by Shortride | editTime, Richard Lacayo (Sep 23, 2002)
 
His narrator is a soul who inhabits a liminal realm, a creature able to bridge the divisions that plague humanity, endowed with ''the ability to communicate between the genders, to see not with the monovision of one sex but in the stereoscope of both.'' That utopian reach makes ''Middlesex'' deliriously American; the novel's patron saint is Walt Whitman, and it has some of the shagginess of that poet's verse to go along with the exuberance. But mostly it is a colossal act of curiosity, of imagination and of love.
 
''Middlesex'' is a novel about roots and rootlessness. (The middle-sex, middle-ethnic, middle-American DNA twists are what move Cal to Berlin; the author now lives there too.) But the writing itself is also about mixing things up, grafting flights of descriptive fancy with hunks of conversational dialogue, pausing briefly to sketch passing characters or explain a bit of a bygone world.

''The Virgin Suicides'' is all of a piece, contained within the boundaries of one neighborhood; ''Middlesex'' -- a strange Scheherazade of a book -- is all in pieces, as all big family stories are, bursting the boundaries of logic.
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eugenides, Jeffreyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bagnoli, KatiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nilsson, Hans-JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tabori, KristofferNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For Yama, who comes from a different gene pool entirely
First words
I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.
Quotations
"Don't you think it would have been easier just to stay the way you were?"
I lifted my face and looked into my mother's eyes. And I told her: "This is the way I was."
The textbook publishers would make sure to cover my face. The black box: a fig leaf in reverse, concealing identity while leaving shame exposed.
Historical fact: people stopped being human in 1913. That was the year Henry Ford put his cars on rollers and made his workers adopt the speed of the assembly line. At first, the workers rebelled. They quit in droves, unable to accustom their bodies to the new pace of the age. Since then, adaptation has been passed down: we've all inherited it to some degree, so that we plug right into joysticks and remotes, to repetitive motions of a hundred kinds.

But in 1922 it was still a new thing to be a machine.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Three generations of a Greek American family find themselves plagued by a mutant gene which causes bizarre side effects in the family's teenage girls.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312427735, Paperback)

"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974." And so begins Middlesex, the mesmerizing saga of a near-mythic Greek American family and the "roller-coaster ride of a single gene through time." The odd but utterly believable story of Cal Stephanides, and how this 41-year-old hermaphrodite was raised as Calliope, is at the tender heart of this long-awaited second novel from Jeffrey Eugenides, whose elegant and haunting 1993 debut, The Virgin Suicides, remains one of the finest first novels of recent memory.

Eugenides weaves together a kaleidoscopic narrative spanning 80 years of a stained family history, from a fateful incestuous union in a small town in early 1920s Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit; from the early days of Ford Motors to the heated 1967 race riots; from the tony suburbs of Grosse Pointe and a confusing, aching adolescent love story to modern-day Berlin. Eugenides's command of the narrative is astonishing. He balances Cal/Callie's shifting voices convincingly, spinning this strange and often unsettling story with intelligence, insight, and generous amounts of humor:

Emotions, in my experience aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." … I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic traincar constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." ... I'd like to have a word for "the sadness inspired by failing restaurants" as well as for "the excitement of getting a room with a minibar." I've never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I've entered my story, I need them more than ever.

When you get to the end of this splendorous book, when you suddenly realize that after hundreds of pages you have only a few more left to turn over, you'll experience a quick pang of regret knowing that your time with Cal is coming to a close, and you may even resist finishing it--putting it aside for an hour or two, or maybe overnight--just so that this wondrous, magical novel might never end. --Brad Thomas Parsons

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:52 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Spanning eight decades and chronicling the wild ride of a Greek-American family through the vicissitudes of the twentieth century, Jeffrey Eugenides' novel on one level tells a traditional story about three generations of an 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 an 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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 15 descriptions

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