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The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Virgin Suicides (original 1993; edition 1994)

by Jeffrey Eugenides

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,817None341 (3.81)1 / 286
Title:The Virgin Suicides
Authors:Jeffrey Eugenides
Info:Grand Central Publishing (1994), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:death, suicide, american, mi, 1970's, fiction, pb, mooched, outstanding

Work details

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (1993)

1001 (64) 1001 books (57) 1970s (41) 20th century (65) adolescence (63) America (38) American (91) American fiction (28) American literature (87) coming of age (160) contemporary (38) contemporary fiction (68) death (62) family (87) fiction (1,013) literature (50) made into movie (55) mental illness (33) Michigan (41) movie (37) novel (146) own (57) read (152) sisters (118) suburbia (57) suicide (359) teenagers (58) to-read (156) unread (57) USA (50)
  1. 40
    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (readerbabe1984, RosyLibrarian)
  2. 52
    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: share the same exquisite sense of setting: boring, but not terrible suburban America, second half of last century.
  3. 10
    White Oleander by Janet Fitch (RosyLibrarian)
  4. 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.
  5. 00
    Practical Jean by Trevor Cole (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  6. 00
    The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  7. 00
    Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy (freddlerabbit)
    freddlerabbit: The styles and narrative perspectives of these two books remind me strongly of one another.
  8. 00
    Paint It Black by Janet Fitch (jbarry)
  9. 00
    Quiet Chaos by Sandro Veronesi (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Both original and intriguing stories about loss and grieving.
  10. 00
    Whores on the Hill by Colleen Curran (jbarry)
  11. 02
    We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (ainsleytewce)

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English (140)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (147)
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
Well, I don't think I can say "I liked it", it doesn't describe what I feel about this book. But I do think it was good, so I rated it as 4/5.

Jeffrey Eugenides tries us and our way of thinking. By presenting a lot of other people's views, he doesn't give us a true image of the girls, just some impressions, reflections of who they were.

I can't say much more about this book, because I think that it will be like adding some more untrue versions and misinterpretations. Instead, I should just say: "read it".
( )
  Lui1313 | Mar 14, 2014 |
Holds up very nicely, still a beautiful piece of writing, although I miss the bewitchment of reading it for the first time. When you consider that it's a first novel, that's a hell of an achievement. ( )
  lisapeet | Jan 4, 2014 |
I was hesitant to even give three stars honestly. Though I kind of figure it's one star for each interesting section of the book, usually being about 10 to 15 pages a piece. The few sections that were interesting (aka something happened), I found it impossible to stop reading. However so much time was spent mulling over the same observations and ideas, it became really dull between these moments. A bigger problem for me, was that the author/narrator kept judgment completely out of the story, until the last page and a half, at which point he heaps his judgment upon those who have taken their own life. This judgment left a foul taste in my mouth at the end of the story, and now it's all I can really think about when trying to review it. It was like someone calling you on the phone, insulting you heavily, then hanging up before you get a chance to process and respond. People are welcome to their own view on the topic, I know it's a controversial one, but I honestly felt kind of betrayed. He paints these characters as victims of everything around them, then chastises them for their final decision. Like bringing a starving person to your home and yelling at them for eating before saying grace.
In the long run, I'm glad I read part of this if nothing else for the chance to see the effect suicide can have on those left behind, but it's definitely not ever going to be a re-read for me. ( )
  davadog13 | Nov 21, 2013 |
One, two, punch. This book was hypnotising for a variety of reasons. First of all, I have to acknowledge the fact that Eugenides is a very brave man. Writing a debut novel isn't an easy thing to do, let alone a debut novel that talks about the suicides of five underage girls.

This is also the first book I've read that uses a 'we' perspective. A very simple idea, but it works wonders for the book, as it points all the focus towards the Lisbon girls. The mysterious, infatuating Lisbon girls. It's a very fine line, really. I'm glad Eugenides hasn't made the girls mythical beings. Suicide should never be a statement; this would be a form of supreme decadence, and I'm glad he has ended on a critical note in this book. This isn't really a book that is to be understood. Giving the Lisbon girls an ulterior motive for their suicide would have been a dangerous thing. Give them a too convincing reason to die, and you risk inspiring people.

But what a great debut. The Lisbon girls really come to life, father Lisbon seems powerless, mother Lisbon willing but failing to make a difference. It's very peculiar how these characters, who are hardly ever allowed to speak in the book, are more alive than most characters I've encountered in other books. The few times they show their personality gives you very mixed feelings since Eugenides doesn't let your forget that in the end they must all die.

That's really all I can say; just read it.

PS; I haven't seen the movie adaptation, and frankly, I don't really plan to. I'm not here to compare, but seriously, I'm quite sure the book is better. ( )
  WorldInColour | Oct 12, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:08 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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