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Middlesex

by Eugenides, Jeffrey.

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Call number: Fiction

Community Reviews

love the writing style... but I just can't get through it!

The narrative style is great-- enough detail to let your imagination run and really imagine the social situations he describes. It's long, though.... so if you're a slow reader, be prepared to carve out some time to get through this!

Highly recommended

A fascinating story told from the perspective of an intersex person growing up in Michigan in the 1950s and 1960s, this book tells not just about transphobia, sexism and homophobia, but about racism, prejudice against Eastern European immigrants and those who are not Protestant. This is one of the few fiction books I have ever found about intersex people (those who are born without "clear" male or female body parts at birth but whom doctors usually assign a gender). The novel does contain some scary and violent scenes that are, rightfully, disturbing. I highly recommend it!

Historical Fiction

The writing is compelling and the story is fascinating. This is a real page-turner. The history woven throughout the story tells of the cities, Smyrna and Detroit, both going down in flames. The family has its own difficult history with secrets, losses,and then later, truth revealed. Every bit of this book is beautifully written and it ties together at the end in a believable and poignant present/future.

American Novel

Looking for the American Novel? This is it! A great story of many generations, that everyone will be able to relate to in at least one way. A great semi historical novel, with great coverage of Detroit.

This book rocks

my socks off. : )

Nice author/Good Book

I met this author at the 826 fundraiser dinner a few months ago. I had never heard of the author or the book. People during the event raved about the book. They were not wrong. Really good book, well worth the read!!!

Middlesex - Beware Spoilers

Middlesex is a phenomenal story that touches on many poignant subjects, including immigration, incest, mythology, war, capitalism, religion, sexuality, fate, coincidence, and so much more. The structure of all of these elements are contained in the story of Detroit itself. Each character represents different internal struggles: There is Desdemona who finds no better place for her orthodox Christian values than in the American Islamic faith. Then you have the confused politics of Marius Grimes, who believes in equality for all people but caves to the blood lust of the Detroit Riots of 1967. Cal himself comes to represent the metamorphosis of 20th century Detroit.

Cal was predicted to be a boy but happily surprised his family when born a female phenom. This is similar to the first cultural surge of Detroit when what was originally conceived as a valuable port system boomed with the introduction of the auto industry. As people rejoiced in Cal’s feminine traits, the city of Detroit explored new possibilities in the fields of architecture, art, and music.

Cal went through the years of her happy childhood while the D flourished through an era of creativity and strong economy. However, with the onset of puberty and sexual urges Cal’s girlish features began to blur into androgyny. Our heroine is shrouded in confusion as her family grew puzzled with the changes her body and attitude take. She becomes more angular, jaunty, hairy as well as increasingly self-focused, reclusive, and phenomenally shy. This shift takes place as the racial disputes of the city became increasingly heated, which then alters the lay-out of the city and its workers in decades to come. As part of this changing community the Stephanides family moves to Grosse Pointe as many others fled Detroit, and in this new physical location Calliope begins her transition into Cal through her sexual experimentation with her neighborhood friend.

Her family members can no longer deny that Calliope is going through an unexpected developmental stage. Experts were consulted, doctors visited, and traditional remedies sought. This mirrors how in the time period following the economic and population shift of Detroit, its citizens were forced to consider what was happening to their city; what was their beautiful, artistic area to become? Experts were consulted, politicians visited, and new business ventures were sought.

However, the physical changes of Calliope and the City were both undeniable as well as unstoppable. In the midst of the change both fell into ruin (as the city was plagued with crime and Cal fell into poverty) but eventually rose transformed into something brand new and equally wonderful, dare I say, phenomenal.

As Cal takes his place to guard the family’s home from his father’s wandering ghost, so is this now the time for the City to protect itself from the mistakes of its past and accept that it must transform to survive.

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