Book Magazine (4 ½ Stars)
Highly compressed, explosively sudden comparisons are Eugenides' forte. Some are charmingly written….Others have the force of poetry....When Eugenides deals not in metaphor but in historical detail, he imbues facts with the same piquancy as his imagination....A great-hearted novel.
…concerns the turbulent awakening of sexual impulses and identity, and combines a gently ironic humor with an obsessive, shimmering nostalgia that the author traces with vivid intelligence and precision....The flagrantly talented Eugenides turns the fascinating, improbable story of hermaphrodite Calliope Stephanides…into a 500-plus-page saga that begins with Cal's forebears on the slopes of Mount Olympus and ends in a deeply felt moment of self-realization.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
, a mirror-house love poem to his Greek 'Family,' Jeffrey Eugenides proves he has literary muscle second to none.
At some point this fall, at a cocktail party or in some similarly chatty setting, you will overhear people talking about the 'hermaphrodite novel' and pressing the book upon others with the fervor of evangelical missionaries. So here's your heads-up The title is Middlesex
; the author is Jeffrey Eugenides; yes, it's that good; and yes, it's about a hermaphrodite....But Middlesex
is about a hermaphrodite in the way that Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel
is about a teenage boy....Middlesex
was nine years in the writing, and it's easy to see why; a novel of chance, family, sex, surgery, and America, it contains multitudes.
Eugenides' gift is to take subject matter that could easily devolve into tabloid fodder and instead mine it for delightfully weird, dark-hued comedy and highly original plotting.
Eugenides' generosity toward his characters is the hallmark of the novel.
Philadelphia City News
is a gloriously ambitious, resonantly humane story about the inalienable human right to be oneself.
Detroit Free Press
At last Detroit has its great novel. What Dublin got from James Joyce—a sprawling, ambitious, loving, exasperated and playful chronicle of all its good and bad parts—Detroit has from native son Eugenides.
Eugenides writes a sweeping tale, incorporating the structure of the Greek myths into the angst-ridden world of teen sexual desire. He pulls together the strands of genocide, Prohibition bootlegging, race riots and middle-class striving into a romantic, cohesive novel.
A truly extraordinary yarn....In a worthy bid for Great American Noveldom, Eugenides covers the tremendous swath of 20th-century history, from the automobile assembly lines of 1920s Detroit to the formation of the Nation of Islam…from a Prohibition-era speakeasy to a private-school locker room in 1970s Grosse Pointe. This sort of greatest-hits Odyssey can easily get out of hand…but Eugenides pulls it off with dazzling artistry and a deceptively light-fingered style.
School Library Journal - Enoch Pratt Free Library
Adult/High School-Mostly, the novel remains a universal narrative of a girl who's happy to grow up but hates having to leave her old self behind. Readers will love watching the narrator go from Callie to Cal, and witnessing all of the life experiences that get her there.
St. Louis Post Dispatch
Eugenides maps out a territory where all kinds of love, memories and despairs engage readers and then evanesce....This fiction is a revelation of originality and vast invention.
The Christian Science Monitor
A novel of extraordinary flexibility, scope, and emotional depth.
The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
Part Tristram Shandy, part Ishmael, part Holden Caulfield, Cal is a wonderfully engaging narrator.... A deeply affecting portrait of one family's tumultuous engagement with the American 20th century.
Daring and inventive....An epic....This feast of a novel is thrilling in the scope of its imagination and surprising in its tenderness.
San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
Unprecedented, astounding....praiseworthy, prizeworthy.
The Washington Post Book World
He has simply gotten better and better.
is anything but ordinary. It is 'out there' in the best sense—a wry, unpredictable and ultimately wise book....It is funny and poignant and mythical, and very hard to put down.
This is a big book, so wildly imaginative that it borders on the bizarre, and yet so warm-hearted that it's hard to resist.
Entertainment Weekly (A-)
is a novel of roots and rootlessness....all in pieces, as all big family stories are, bursting the boundaries of logic.
Starred Review. Beautifully written....Eugenides has an extraordinary sensitivity....This is one determinedly literary novel that should also appeal to a large, general audience.
Starred Review. From the beginning, the reader is brought into a world rich in culture and history, as Eugenides extends his plot into forbidden territories with unique grace....Once again, Eugenides proves that he is not only a unique voice in modern literature but also well versed in the nature of the human heart. Highly recommended.
The New York Times Book Review
Expansive and radiantly generous....Deliriously American.
…is a wonderfully rich, ambitious novel—it deserves to be a huge success.
Good to the last word!!!
Every january Our Martinis and Manuscripts, my book group, reads the Pulitzer-winning novel for the past year.
Over the years we have had some winners and a few big time losers. Then came 2003 and WOW! This book is worth every page...our highest ... Read More
I had to read this book for a class, and I was very surprised that it turned out to be one of my favorite books of the semester. It's about a hermaphrodite, but it's about so much more. I would highly recommend it, even to people who are turned off... Read More
This book was wonderful. I hated it to end.
I wondered about the Chapter Eleven name too. I remembered reading that "Cal" was written into a book. And his/her whole family (I would assume) was also written into the book. Chapter Eleven was a character that was weird and ... Read More
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