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About the Book and Author

[ Edited ]

About the Book

Book Cover Image: Title: Middlesex, Author: Jeffrey Eugenides Buy It

In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides finds herself drawn to a classmate at her girls' school in Grosse Point, Michigan. That passion -- along with her failure to develop -- leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls.

The explanation for this is a rare genetic mutation -- and a guilty secret -- that have followed Callie's grandparents from the crumbling Ottoman Empire to Prohibition-era Detroit and beyond, outlasting the glory days of the Motor City, the race riots of 1967, and the family's second migration, into the foreign country known as suburbia. Thanks to the gene, Callie is part girl, part boy. And even though the gene's epic travels have ended, her own odyssey has only begun.

Spanning across eight decades -- and one unusually awkward adolescence -- Jeffrey Eugenides' Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a grand, utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire.

About the Author

Author Photo: Jeffrey Eugenides

Jeffrey Eugenides has created a singular impression for someone who has published two novels in his whole career, and very few interviews all the while. What accounts for it? Well, consider the power of his stories. Eugenides has that Nabokovian gift for combining the prurient with the tragic. The Virgin Suicides was a relatively brief, dreamlike narrative about five sisters in suburban Michigan in the early '70s, all of whom killed themselves. It offers a speedball of irresistible American themes: coming of age in suburbia, family dysfunction, suicide and sex.

With chorus-like narration by the neighborhood boys who lust after the Lisbon girls, the novel earned comparisons to earlier, classical forms. The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani wrote of the novel, "By turns lyrical and portentous, ferocious and elegaic, The Virgin Suicides insinuates itself into our minds as a small but powerful opera in the unexpected form of a novel."

Well received though his first novel was, Eugenides clearly sought to do something more ambitious with Middlesex -- and something more bizarre, hence the aforementioned media interest. Having traversed the awkward terrain of adolescence once already, the author explores the singular discomfort of that period as experienced by a hermaphrodite. Grander in scope than his first novel, Middlesex goes well beyond courting a freak-show curiosity, guided by Eugenides into a person's quest for identity and a family history that begins in Greece, 1922. Garnering the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Middlesex established the author as one of the most formidable literary talents at work in American fiction today.

Discover all titles and editions from Jeffrey Eugenides.

Message Edited by Barbara on 08-16-2007 09:15 AM

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