James's Reviews > The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
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Mar 11, 12

Read from March 07 to 11, 2012

A haunting, lyrical dream of a book with no clear answers, no clear reliable narration, and at times, it seems to be the history of not just a family's tragedy, but a street's, a community's, a city's, a country's, an era's, humanity's. Eugenides is a masterful writer, and his accretion of the decaying, melting imagery of the Lisbon household sticks with me after shutting the book's pages. I'm maddened and frustrated by not knowing where to turn for answers to this text, and I see shades of his other works peeking around the edges (the classic Middlesex, the uneven The Marriage Plot).

I think it is worth returning to Sofia Coppola's film to see what she did with this text. In many ways, it seems unfilmable.
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message 1: by LeighAnne (new)

LeighAnne Rayburn Have you seen the movie before? I found it terribly incomplete, but I admit I hadn't read the book. Am reading Marriage Plot right now. I do find it easy to enjoy, but I see why you call it uneven. I have also counted 21 times when he should've used the subjunctive case but didn't. That is hard on me.


James I wanted The Marriage Plot to end after the first extended chapter about graduation. I thought the conceit of a whirlwind chapter, jumping forward and backward in time with the graduation moment rapidly approaching was brilliant. Is there a more awkward time? The collision of cultures (parents and family coming to see the return on their investment vs. friends, lovers trying to negotiate where we go next as friends or lovers).

I did think the final page was brilliant, but it didn't redeem a sloppy middle for me.

I saw Virgin Suicides a while back, and I remember it being moody and ethereal, but I think I need to see it again. I wonder if I would like it more or less now.


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