Jeffrey Eugenides and Benito Gomez Ibanez - Middlesex

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I saw rejection and humiliation and I wept for my life.

May 10, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Epic, great writing, historical and modern, magical and realistic

Cons:none

The Bottom Line: Middlesex is a great book!


Calliope Stephanides is a little girl growing up in Detroit in the 60’s, or at least she thinks she is as she has nothing else to go on. The family doctor misses a slight difference in her genitalia when she is born, and her parents raise her without knowing either. Calliope has ambiguous genetalia, that is, she is a hermaphrodite.

But this story is about so very much more than a little girl who discovers she is something between boy and girl when she is a teenager. This is a transnational narrative that begins in Turkey with her Greek grandparents and their little secret as they escape a burning Smyrna to Detroit.

Her parent’s growing up is also included in the story, and that of many aunts and uncles, all of which culminate in Calliope’s discovery and the subsequent escape she makes as she transitions into life as a man. The transnational narrative eventually leads to the trans-gender narrative, and in the meantime the reader witnesses the war between Turkey and Greece, the rise of Black Islamic Nationalism, the race riots of the 60’s, the economic woes of the 70’s, and the immigrant mindset on the American stage.

At its core, Middlesex is a coming of age story, but in its broader scope it is an epic tale about the Greeks, the American dream, and the fluidity of gender identity and all that that encompasses. I can’t recommend Middlesex highly enough.


Recommend this product? Yes


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