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The Virgin Suicides (1993)

by Jeffrey Eugenides

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,739238481 (3.79)1 / 366
The five Lisbon sisters are brought up in a strict household, and when the youngest kills herself, the oppression of the remaining sisters intensifies. As Therese, Mary, Bonnie and Lux are pulled deeper into isolation by their domineering mother, a group of neighborhood boys become obsessed with liberating the sisters. But what the boys don't know is, the Lisbon girls are beyond saving.… (more)
Recently added bynerm, private library, lutxika, scupper, ariel1234987
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 Someone explain it to me...: The Virgin Suicides15 unread / 15Miniwheat, July 2013

» See also 366 mentions

English (219)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (235)
Showing 1-5 of 219 (next | show all)
"We gathered their possessions once more, everything we’d gotten hold of during our strange curatorship: Cecilia’s high-tops; Therese’s microscope; a jewelry box in which a strand of Mary’s dishwater-blond hair lay bedded on cotton; the photocopy of Cecilia’s laminated picture of the Virgin; one of Lux’s tube tops." An investigation into the possibility of martyrdom in the American suburbs of the mid 20th century - complete with precious relics, and inviting a lifetime of devotional study - though a bit too licentious for my taste. Curiously, the saintly acts here are an inversion of a caricature of the Catholic faith: “The Acts of the Saints, Acta Sanctorum, as the cheap tricks of modern cinema." Here instead the quotidian is the domain of miracles, as if Elijah were in the living room impassively watching television

But why so many girls? The multiplicity of those characters suggests the kafka-esque figure of three borders joined together at the beard. One might respond “first as tragedy, then as farce, [finally as revelation],” Though, if true, Eugenides does a disservice by making the completion of the acts seem inevitable. The investigations in chapter 4 and beyond, and the increasing decrepitude of the girls' circumstances are flawed aspects of the work. This kind of martyrdom consists in an act without a visible sign. ( )
  Joe.Olipo | Nov 26, 2022 |
Una narración muy fluida que la verdad me atrapó desde la primera página. Me encantó la forma en como se desarrolló la historia de la chicas y la inminente conclusión que te dicen desde el primer momento.
Lo único que no me gusta de Eugenides es que a veces se sumerge mucho en historias de personajes secundarios, los cuales no tiene nada de malo, pero se vuelve demasiado densa cosa que entorpece el hilo de la historia. Lo bueno es que estos lapsus con en situaciones puntuales y no abarca capítulos completos. ( )
  pmesinas | Sep 28, 2022 |
Descriptive books without a plot are not my thing at all. However, sometimes the writing is so good that it's hard to stop once you've started. This is one of those books.

In essence, this is a tale of boys beginning to cope with the reality of, and desire for, girls. And it does this really well by centring the boys' attention on a family with five daughters. Unfortunately, along the way, the sisters kill themselves. This mixes things up somewhat.

The observations are marvellously drawn, and there is a lot of wry, sometimes dark, humour (not jokes mind); including the book's title.

I suspect that you need to be in the right frame of mind to read it. It's not a tale that is going to lead you from one thing to the next, or leave you panting for more. Nor does it easily split itself into chapters. It's one to spend an hour or two at a time with in another world.
( )
  ortgard | Sep 22, 2022 |
I'm not sure what this book is supposed to represent abstractly, but it does a great job of describing what it was like to be a teenager in the 1970s. Well, girls as seen through the eyes of boys. Squished into boxes and sorted into our roles as virgins or whores with very little nuance at all. The weight of hormones, societal expectations, peer pressure and the looming cloud of adulthood obscuring our dreams and fears.

This book was an eye-opener for me. I wish I'd read it earlier, like when I was a teenager, but of course it wasn't written then, so no. I wouldn't have understood all of the implications, but I think I would have loved the insight into teenage boys and their budding sexuality. It became clear to me that I didn't understand them any better than they understood me at that age.

Teenagers are selfish creatures underneath it all. They imitate and play act a lot. They don't understand their own motivations. It takes a lot more life experience to do that. The children in this book are perfect example. ( )
  rabbit-stew | Jun 26, 2022 |
After reading Dear Fahrenheit 451, which the author of HIGHLY recommended this book, I figured I better read it! The writing/prose is absolutely lovely and I would be very interested in reading other books by Mr. Eugenides.

The story itself isn't about five sisters who commit suicide necessarily, mostly about the first sister who started it. In fact the second one doesn't happen until about 3/4 of the way through the book. It is more a tale about the neighborhood boys who are the narrators, who are utterly fasicnated by these girls. It was fun to read that the boys found the most mundane things (tugging at a bra strap) a dark mystery to be pondered. Page 59-60: "We knew the pain of winter wind rushing up your skirt, and the ache of keeping your knees together in class, and how drab and infuritating it was to jump rope while the boys played baseball. We could never understand why the girls cared so much about being mature, or why they felt compelled to compliment each other, but sometimes, after one of us had read a long portion of their diary out loud, we had to fight back the urge to hug one another or to tell each other how pretty we were. We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together. We knew that the girls were our twins, that we all existed in space like animals with identical skins, and that they knew everything about us though we couldn't fathom them at all. We knew, finally, that the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them."

This books is about tragedy and its remnants and how it is dealt with by those left behind. ( )
  BarbF410 | May 22, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 219 (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.
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The five Lisbon sisters are brought up in a strict household, and when the youngest kills herself, the oppression of the remaining sisters intensifies. As Therese, Mary, Bonnie and Lux are pulled deeper into isolation by their domineering mother, a group of neighborhood boys become obsessed with liberating the sisters. But what the boys don't know is, the Lisbon girls are beyond saving.

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