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by J Eugenides

'I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974.'
So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family, who travel from a tiny village in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Michigan. To understand why she is not like other girls, Calliope has to uncover a family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns her into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, this book is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.
At over 500 pages, this wasn’t a quick read! But from the beginning readers were drawn into this family saga by the style of writing and the intrigue of the narrator’s eventful tale, where every character has and dramatically emotional journey to take. Peppered with Greek Mythology and facts from modern social history. Eugenides also takes the liberty of weaving some of his own theories into the book (i.e. WF Fard and the Nation of Islam). Although a deceivingly breezy tone is used to describe some awful parts of the story, Middlesex has many humourous moments and several lengthy Sterne-style diversions. By the end of the book, I was left feeling that I wanted more and that it was wound up a little too quicky.

Suggested by Jayne Fellows, Wolverhampton

Tagged with: changes family generational intriguing life personality saga travel twist



I completely agree with Jayne; this book has the best opening paragraph ever. It hooks you with a bait you can't resist and it keeps you engaged throughout the book. A workmate recommended it to me and I'm forever obliged to her for it. Write down this title in you "must-read" book list.
montse rey

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