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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
9,185169325 (3.81)1 / 308
  1. 72
    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: share the same exquisite sense of setting: boring, but not terrible suburban America, second half of last century.
  2. 40
    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (readerbabe1984, rosylibrarian)
  3. 20
    White Oleander by Janet Fitch (rosylibrarian)
  4. 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)
  5. 10
    See How Small by Scott Blackwood (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  6. 00
    Practical Jean: A Novel (P.S.) by Trevor Cole (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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    The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  8. 00
    Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote (weener)
    weener: Both books with a srong sense of setting, with a sense of foreboding and decay.
  9. 00
    Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy (freddlerabbit)
    freddlerabbit: The styles and narrative perspectives of these two books remind me strongly of one another.
  10. 00
    Quiet Chaos by Sandro Veronesi (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Both original and intriguing stories about loss and grieving.
  11. 00
    Paint It Black by Janet Fitch (jbarry)
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    Whores on the Hill: A Novel by Colleen Curran (jbarry)
  13. 12
    We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (ainsleytewce)

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English (160)  Dutch (4)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (168)
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
Though the narration was clear, it left too many questions in my opinion. I understand that the suicide was an event dividing their lives into two distinct parts but the narrators don't see the girls as people as much as objects to watch and lust after and I think it takes something from the book. ( )
  AdorablyBookish | Aug 29, 2015 |
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides; (5*)

This is, I think, a rather unique story. We never really understand the main characters but we do get to know the minor characters quite well. We do not see growth in the characters within the covers of this book but somehow it all feels right. It seems on the surface to be a simple story, however it is anything but. It is artistic without losing any of its entertainment value.
Eugenides gives us a story with many layers filled with strong undercurrents and quiet symbolism. The book is about the sad fate of the Libson girls but on the other hand the author uses the girls merely as a focal point for themes (often using strong symbolism and light subtext) about the place of religion, the nature of humans, and perhaps even the meaning of life within the book.
There is deep significance in the recurring themes of religious icons and in the fate of the neighborhood's elm trees. The Virgin Suicides is full of symbolism and metaphors but he manages to stay very readable. To have such heavy symbolism and not create a pretentious book is a very difficult balance but Eugenides pulls it off brilliantly. The writing is fluid and the prose beautiful. Eugenides turns the most mundane into the most haunting and beautiful prose and the book is filled with dark humor along with reality.
Though some may find it's ending somewhat unfulfilling but our libraries are full of books that can offer you character growth but few can offer such appealing prose and such powerful emotions and ideas as The Virgin Suicides offers.
Just read it! ( )
1 vote rainpebble | Aug 27, 2015 |
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (author of Middlesex and more recently The Marriage Plot) seems to have been around for ages, despite only being published in 1993.

The novel is set in 1970s Michigan, USA and centres around the Lisbon girls, who - we learn very early on - all commit suicide.

Their decline and ultimate demise is narrated in first person plural, which I found confusing in the beginning until I realised I wasn't just reading their story as witnessed by a teenage boy, but from the perspective of a group of boys.

Their curiosity about the Lisbon girls fills the pages, each of them having their own story to tell about one of the sisters. This fixation develops into a morbid fascination that never really leaves the boys in their later lives.

Despite the somewhat dark subject matter of teenage depression and suicide, Eugenides is somehow able to weave in plenty of humorous moments and amusing observations and his writing is a pleasure to consume.

The Virgin Suicides is a haunting but rewarding read, and I would definitely consider reading more from Eugenides in the future. ( )
  Carpe_Librum | Jun 1, 2015 |
The story is told by this group of boy-men (they are men now I guess technically but they started it all when they were children and can't move past it) who spent their childhood obsessed with the Lisbon sisters (Cecilia, Mary, Bonnie, Lux, Therese). As the title suggests, the sisters begin committing suicide (though not all virgins, so whatchu on about, Eugenides?!) and the boys (yes, even the Internet is just like 'hey, they're just the neighborhood boys, don't worry about names') are trying to piece together the mystery that is the Lisbon girls.

It's a really different take on a coming of age story and I have recommended it to a lot of my friends on that basis. I'm interested in seeing what else Eugenides has to offer. ( )
  CarleyShea | Feb 5, 2015 |
This is a hard one to rate and review. It's a very beautifully written book and the unique outside perspective is what carries the book. But I found myself liking the concept of this book much more than how the book actually played out. I would have been fine with not knowing all of the answers and not getting to know the girls personally if there had been more to the story. More piecing together of the mystery even if the mystery wasn't solved. As I continued reading and figured out that this book wasn't necessarily about the girls but really about male youth in the 1970's it really was hard not to be disappointed. I am not in need of more stories about male adolescence. Frankly not much happens in this book, one comment I read on goodreads is that it's "masturbatory reminiscence of what it felt like to be an American middle class white boy in suburbs in the 1950s (Mike Finn)" which I think is accurate and it left me wanting more. I mean really nothing happens. We don't learn much at all about the girls. We already knew they were going to commit suicide from the beginning. And these things could have worked well for me if we had gotten more in some other sense. I am glad I read it and I will be watching the film adaptation to see how they worked with the perspective which is so crucial to this book.
I don't know this seems harsh but at the same time I did like it in ways and it's just really a hard one. I'm not sure how exactly I feel. ( )
1 vote morgantaylor | Jan 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 160 (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.

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Jeffrey Eugenidesprimary 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.

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