Sunday, April 29, 2007


From the first page, I was completely mesmerized by this story of a Greek American family, spanning 80 years from a fateful incestuous union in 1920's Asia Minor to Prohibition era Detroit. I had seen the movie The Virgin Suicides, but not read the book, so this was my first knowledge of the work of Jeffrey Eugenides.

"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."

Cal Stephanides, a 41-year-old hermaphrodite was raised as Calliope, a seeming girl. His grandparents each carried a single mutated gene on the fifth chromosome. Its expression may go underground for decades only to reappear when everyone has forgotten about it. This is a strange unsettling story with generous amounts of humor and an aching adolescent love story.

Cal says "In the end, it wasn't up to me. The big things never are. Birth, I mean, and Death. And love, and what love bequeaths to us before we're born."

No comments: