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Review: Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides

A witty, brilliant piece of social commentary about America in the 20th century, Middlesex is the story of a Greco-American family. It is a series of vignettes about a hermaphrodite and his inbred family. Born as a girl named Callie in 1959, Cal Stephanides discusses with candor and insightfulness the story of his family. Middlesex is filled with deux ex machinae, those little twists and turns of fate which allow everything to "fall into place" as they were meant to.

I have no idea why I didn't pick up this novel earlier. But now I'm glad I did. While the subject seems, at first to be exceedingly strange, there is a lot of truth to what Eugenides puts out on the table for his readers. Cal explores the history of his family, beginning with his grandparents in a small town on a small island in Greece, who immigrate to the United States in 1922. Cal follows his grandparents as they find a new home and a new life in the strange city of Detroit, home to the Ford Motorcar Company in the days before it was known as "Motown." Cal spends his time flickering back and forth between his grandparents' past, his parents' past, and his own. Lingering in the background is that wayward gene- the one which made Cal what he is. Gender is a predominant force in this book, as Eugenides explores sex and sexuality in an intriguing way.

This is an everlasting book, about the values of family and of the home. It was one of those rare books that left an impact upon me. Its a novel about the past, the present and the future- about the things which matter most to us.


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