Monday, 6 June 2011
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
I think most people know the plot for this by now, the narrator Cal is a hermaphrodite. Cal is genetically a male hermaphrodite who is raised a girl and doesn't realise his gender until he hits puberty.
However the first half of the book is basically your standard family saga novel which covers three generations of the Stephanides family. All kinds of historical events are thrown in along the journey of Cal's grandparents incestuous love, the emigration from their homeland in Greece to America, to the family making their home in Detroit.
There is nothing wrong with the first half of the book but I have in my time read my fair share of family saga novels and unfortunately this one didn't stand out to me. The scenes and the situations throughout were vivid and although the writing demands your full attention the events which unfurl hold your interest. There was nothing wrong with it but I wanted to start reading about Cal's present not all the family stuff that read like a lot of other family saga book.
Once the story shifts to Cal and it suddenly becomes quite gripping and I began to care much more about the characters. Cal struggles to come to terms with her identity at times of radical changes. It's not only about being genetically different, but also about Cal's journey to fit in while carving his own individual path and finding Cal's true-self.
While in many way this is an entertaining read and there were large parts I enjoyed, I was left wanting to read more of Cal's life than the novel ultimately gave me. Overall I ended up feeling slightly disappointed.
Posted by Jess