I’ve heard a lot about the author Jeffrey Eugenides. His writing has been nominated and won a laundry list of literary awards. I thought I’d put my foot into the waters of his literary style with his Pulitzer Prize winning Middlesex.
The framework of the story centers around Calliope Stephanides, a Greek-American who was born a hermaphrodite. Eugenides weaves a narrative tapestry worthy of the ancient Greek masters, when he relates the history of Calliope’s family, and how Calliope came to be “Cal.”
I did enjoy Middlesex, but Eugenides writing is much like going to an enormous buffet. It’s a lot to take in. Just when you are enjoying your first plate, more comes along. Sometimes you don’t like what you get and you feel like giving up, but then, ooh – chocolate torte! Or in this case, an interesting twist in the book. A slow-moving chapter in the book gives way to a quick twist in the story-line, grabbing your attention again.
The characters are larger than life, but not particularly endearing. His writing reminds me a little of Mark Helprin. Full, meaty, unusual, humorous and sometimes a little strange. I’m glad I read this book, but would I visit the Eugenides buffet again? Maybe, but not for a long time.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2002