Thursday, November 10, 2011


by Jeffrey Eugenides
2002 Picador
Rating: 4/5

     Yes, I am almost 10 years late to the party on this winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize For Fiction. It has been recommended to me by many friends and customers, but I just never hit that tipping point that got me to read it. I recently read an excellent review of The Marriage Plot, the author's newest book, and decided I needed to seek out this previous title.
     Middlesex is the story of Cal Stephanides, a hermaphrodite man raised as a girl. The first half of the novel is about Cal's family, and depicts his grandparents' escape from Smyrna, a Greek city in now in Turkey, to America 1922. I found this part of the book fascinating. I loved the characters and their assimilation into American society. The first two generations of the family's struggle to make it in the Detroit area was well told, a great dose of history along with wonderful storytelling.
     Unfortunately, I felt the second half of the book, with Cal's discovery that she is a man, fell short of the power of the first half. Other than the physical and genetic problem, Cal was not anywhere near as interesting a character to me as the rest of her family. For me, Middlesex was a fantastic read, just not quite as good as I was expecting.


  1. Sorry it didn't live up to the hype, but 4/5 is still very good, isn't it? I gave it a 4.5/5 and it was on my Top Ten for 2007. After reading a lot of positive reviews, I'm anxious to give The Marriage Plot a read. Have you read The Virgin Suicides?

  2. I did enjoy the book, I just wish the second half had lived up to the promise of the first half. It was a great read and I look forward to "The Marriage Plot". I have not read "The Virgin Suicides".