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Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides


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February 2012 Guest Editor Joanna Trollope on Jeffrey Eugenides...

He produces one amazing book every ten years or so…So over twenty years ago, it was The Virgin Suicides (brilliant) and about ten years ago, Middlesex (even better). He is that rare kind of writer who can make you believe, and make you laugh, and move you, and make you think, without apparently, seeming to do very much. I just love his stuff. I only wish he’d write a bit faster…

If you like Jeffrey Eugenides you might also like to read books by Richard Powers, Jennifer Egan and Jonathan Franzen.


Middlesex by Jeffrey 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. My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver's license records my first name simply as Cal.' So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides, and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of l967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Point, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret, and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.


'Superbly readable'
Sunday Telegraph

'Truly original and compelling'
Daily Mail

'A vibrant chronicle ... wonderful'

'An adolescent coming of age, incest, race riots, transgender issues, intermarriage, the cultural isolation of immigrants and chapters called 'The Oracular Vulva', and 'Gender Dysphoria in San Francisco'... too much, surely, for one book? But pass over it at your peril: this is a beautifully written epic tale, spanning eight decades and three generations of a Greek family who migrate to America in the 1920s. The story is told by 41-year-old Cal Stephanides, who has inherited a rare genetic mutation that means that he is part woman and part man. But this is not a sensation to the reader, nor shocking - we are in on the secret from the start, and there are plenty of secrets in the Stephanides family. One of the particular joys of the book is the way we can look in microscopic detail at the intimate hopes and tragedies of individual characters as they are played against great sweeping social and political changes in 20th-century America. Eugenides writes with great compassion and humour of individuals
struggles to find a place within the world and to thrive within conventional boundaries. All the characters are vividly and memorably drawn and the reader really cares about each of them. A brilliant achievement.' (Kirkus UK)

About the Author

Jeffrey Eugenides

Jeffrey Eugenides — winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Middlesex — was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1960, the third son of an American-born father whose Greek parents immigrated from Asia Minor and an American mother of Anglo-Irish descent. Eugenides was educated at public and private schools, graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, and received an MA in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University in 1986. Two years later, in 1988, he published his first short story.

His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, Best American Short Stories, The Gettysburg Review and Granta's ‘Best of Young American Novelists’. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published in 1993, and has since been translated into fifteen languages and made into a major motion picture. His second novel, Middlesex, was published in paperback in September 2003 and has been selected by Waterstone's as one of their top 100 books of the last 25 years.

Eugenides is the recipient of many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and The National Foundation for the Arts, a Whiting Writers' Award, and the Harold D. Vursell Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. In the past few years he has been a Fellow of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm of the DAAD and of the American Academy in Berlin.

Jeffrey Eugenides lives in Berlin with his wife and daughter.

Author photo © Karen Yamauchi

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Book Info

Publication date

20th June 2013


Jeffrey Eugenides

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Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


544 pages


Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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