Lisa Hoenig's Reviews > Middlesex

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
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's review
Apr 27, 2009

it was amazing
Read in July, 2009

I listened to this book. It was an Audie Award winner, and it definitely deserved the honor. Probably one of the liveliest narrations I have listened to (and I listen to a lot of books). Simply a wonderful match of reader and material.

Many things about this novel are fascinating. The ideas of gender and identity, of family identity, family traditions, and family secrets... What would it be like to be so different? What would it be like not to know how different you were, or why? Also, the Detroit setting is dead-on accurate and real.

The end of the audiobook includes a brief interview with Jeffrey Eugenides. He discusses the difficulty he had in determining how the book should be narrated. It had to have an "I" to avoid switching gender pronouns at any specific point. It's a very personal story for the narrator, Cal, and I couldn't imagine it without that honesty and the "I lived this" feel. The novel also uses an omniscient voice to narrate the family history portions, and somehow switching between the two feels easy and natural. All of the nurture vs. nature questions interested me, but Eugenides also talks about wondering whether he should make the narrative voice inherently female somehow... Made me realize just how many layers there are to gender roles.

Terrific story -- wonderful on audio!
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Stacey Absolutely, there was a certain richness Tabori brought to the whole reading. I have to wonder if I would have loved it quite so fanatically if I had read it instead.

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