Friday, October 26, 2007


I bought a book at the airport because the hard drive on my laptop crashed and I had nothing to do. I bought Middlesex, judged it by it's colorless cover of the silhouettes of two smoking girls, a smokey ship, and a smoking skyline that it was something I would like. The name intrigued me, and it was an Opera Book Club book so I knew it had to have some intellectual value. I am about 140 pages into the 530. I'm smitten, disgusted, confused... completely conflicted.

Author Jeffrey Eugenides writes like I write... a deliberate stream of consciousness in poetry... lines that seem to stream into each other on accident but each word is very purposefully placed. It's an interesting style for a novel. He goes on narrating the story of his ancestors, how he came to be in his present state... organizing the facts and dates and suddenly he drags you back into the purpose of the story, to drag you into his pain and explain who and why he is.

I love it... I love the story and the characters... but I feel completely guilty for doing so. The story is seeped in taboo. Full of incest, murder, homosexuality, and the more confusing topic of intersexuality (the narrator is a hermaphrodite that is raised a girl (decided by doctors) but is actually a boy). I don't enjoy anything shocking for pure shock value... honestly. I have traditional, conservative views, but somehow they fly out the window with this book. I can so deeply identify with Lefty... how he makes his decisions, his loneliness, his emotions, that I completely forget he fell in love with and married his sister. Cal is so masculine, so poetic and brilliant, you can't help but completely mourn the fact that he will never be able to settle down and be with a woman because of his embarrassment over his physical condition.

You forget what and who they are and love the character, but are continually snapped into the shock of it all. You are impressed with how beautifully Des responds to her husband... then suddenly you remember: Omg, this sex scene is between full siblings! But it's too late, you are already sucked in. Or you are deep into the thoughts of the 40 year old unmistakably male narrator and then suddenly he's recalling a scene from his childhood... dressed in pink tights and a skirt. He's not meaning to shock, he makes no outward recognition that this is odd... it's just his childhood, as a girl.

So, needless to say, I'm conflicted... by Cal, not so much, because his plight is the fault of his inbreeding grandparents and parents... but then THEY are such sympathetic characters that you don't want to blame them. You understand why they've done what they've done and you are almost rooting them on, until you recoil and wonder, what am I thinking??? I think I'm going to just love this book... unapologetically. It may be the most well written piece I have ever read, and I think just for that, it deserves my admiration and approbation.

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