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The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Virgin Suicides (1993)

by Jeffrey Eugenides

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,442207412 (3.8)1 / 338
  1. 82
    Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: share the same exquisite sense of setting: boring, but not terrible suburban America, second half of last century.
  2. 50
    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (readerbabe1984, rosylibrarian)
  3. 20
    A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne (si)
  4. 20
    White Oleander by Janet Fitch (rosylibrarian)
  5. 10
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: Virgin Suicides is pretty heavy going however there are quite a few films about teenage angst they might work. Some are darker than others and some are quite old but they could work with Perks... Breakfast Club, Heathers, Girl Interrupted, Rebel without a cause, Footloose, The Year my Voice Broke, Donnie Darko, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.… (more)
  6. 10
    See How Small by Scott Blackwood (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  7. 10
    Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote (weener)
    weener: Both books with a srong sense of setting, with a sense of foreboding and decay.
  8. 00
    Whores on the Hill: A Novel by Colleen Curran (jbarry)
  9. 00
    Paint It Black by Janet Fitch (jbarry)
  10. 00
    Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy (freddlerabbit)
    freddlerabbit: The styles and narrative perspectives of these two books remind me strongly of one another.
  11. 00
    The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  12. 00
    Practical Jean by Trevor Cole (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  13. 00
    Quiet Chaos by Sandro Veronesi (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Both original and intriguing stories about loss and grieving.
  14. 12
    We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (ainsleytewce)

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English (193)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (206)
Showing 1-5 of 193 (next | show all)
If GG Marquez had written Arcade Fire's debut album. At times a bit try-hard, as if the readers would be bored if everyone didn't have an over-engineered cartoon quirk, but once you settle into the style it works. Possibly more effective if the ending hadn't been telegraphed from the start. ( )
  sometimeunderwater | Jul 1, 2019 |
The plot was compelling, but I found the writing style deeply unpleasant. Not for me. ( )
  tronella | Jun 22, 2019 |
A weird but terribly compelling tale, set in a middle class town in 1970s Michigan. Narrated not by any one character but by a 'Greek chorus' of the local boys; every event told from the 'we' perspective. They recall the Lisbon family - schoolteacher father, overprotective Catholic mother and their five lovely daughters. After the youngest - and strangest - commits suicide, the family begins to crack up. We never really know what propels the other daughters to eventually follow suit: the loss of their sister? their abnormal home life? something genetic? The whole narrative is kind of Gothic, dreamy, other-worldly; just as we never get a real handle on the several narrators, so too the girls are seen only through their eyes and their recollections and opinions- like watching them in a mirror rather than really knowing them.
I've never read anything like this, an incredible feat of writing. ( )
  starbox | May 6, 2019 |
A story of a family of mysterious girls seen from an outsiders perspective. The book focuses on the history of the family told by a narrator who lived down the street. It works well as it slowly reveals more and more about the girls and the family. It is written very well. Can be dry, but the tone usually fits the aspect of the story. The story is very sad and the author does a good job of creating empathy for the characters. I really enjoyed the book and felt I got a lot out of it. ( )
  renbedell | Dec 30, 2018 |
i *really* do not like the narration he uses in this book. it's a strange choice that i don't think works at all. it's actually a bit hard for me to believe it's the same guy who wrote middlesex that wrote this one. i was annoyed by about page 4, after getting entirely sucked in by the first paragraph. i was slightly less annoyed by the end, but barely. i'm not sure if it's part of his point to give no agency or even actual reality to the main character girls, by telling their story through boys who don't know them at all and don't have any real idea of their motivations or personalities. (so neither can the reader.) i found it less a commentary on patriarchy, male gaze, and the lack of women's voices (which i would have found more interesting) and instead simply a book that is the product of those things. maybe not, maybe it really is that commentary and i'm doubting it simply because it's written by a man. if it is those things, i would feel differently about this, so maybe i'm misjudging it (and him). (an extra half star to the book just in case.) part of me wonders if there isn't some folktale or story that this book refers back to; it kind of has that fairytale quality where nothing is really explained or makes sense to reality's satisfaction.

as to the writing, there were parts that made me chuckle (and i really did love that first paragraph), but overall i really disliked the way it was written and the collective unnamed male narrator presenting the story of these girls and this family.

** edit to add, 2 months later: the longer i sit with this, the more i hate that a man can write a book like this and we can just accept it as a story that he has any right to tell in this way. there's room for commentary, but that doesn't seem to be what he's doing; he seems to find no problem in telling this peripheral story, making these boys (who don't even know the family really) the main characters of the girls' story. it makes me feel gross. ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Nov 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 193 (next | show all)
Mr. Eugenides is blessed with the storyteller's most magical gift, the ability to transform the mundane into the extraordinary.
added by stephmo | editNew York Times, Suzanne Berne (Apr 25, 1993)
Adopting a tone simultaneously elegiac and loony, The Virgin Suicides takes the dark stuff of Greek tragedy and reworks it into an eccentric, mesmerizing, frequently hilarious American fantasy about the tyranny of unrequited love, and the unknowable heart of every family on earth — but especially the family next door.

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eugenides, Jeffreyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Landrum, NickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide -- it was Mary this time, and the sleeping pills, like Therese -- the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope.
Obviously, Doctor… you’ve never been a thirteen-year-old girl.
They knew everything about us though we couldn’t fathom them at all.
The girls were right in choosing to love Trip, because he was the only boy who could keep his mouth shut.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446670251, Paperback)

Juxtaposing the most common and the most gothic, the humorous and the tragic, author Jeffrey Eugenides creates a vivid and compelling portrait of youth and lost innocence. He takes us back to the elm-lined streets of suburbia in the seventies, and introduces us to the men whose lives have been forever changed by their fierce, awkward obsession with five doomed sisters: brainy Therese, fastidious Mary, ascetic Bonnie, libertine Lux, and pale, saintly Cecilia, whose spectacular demise inaugurates "the year of the suicides." This is the debut novel that caused a sensation and won immediate acclaim from the critics-a tender, wickedly funny tale of love and terror, sex and suicide, memory and imagination.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:13 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The narrator and his friends piece together the events that led up to the suicides of the Lisbon girls--brainy Therese, fastidious Mary, ascetic Bonnie, libertine Lux, and saintly Cecilia.

» see all 7 descriptions

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