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Middlesex

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  538,529 Ratings  ·  21,891 Reviews
Middlesex tells the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides, and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family, who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City and the race riots of 1967 before moving out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michig ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 596 pages
Published August 2003 by Picador (first published September 4th 2002)
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Caelin Webber Because his brother drives the family business into bankruptcy, Cal refers to him by a specific portion of the US bankruptcy law.
Geraldine apparently, the book's rights were sold to HBO in 2009, with rumors of it being adapted into a one-hour drama series. source: …moreapparently, the book's rights were sold to HBO in 2009, with rumors of it being adapted into a one-hour drama series. source: http://filmschoolrejects.com/features...(less)

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Trina
Jul 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I got off the bus from Bumbershoot around 1 AM, exhausted. Convinced that even the cars speeding past my window couldn’t keep me from this night’s rest, I opened the door to a stench of exceptional vileness. Not a dead stench, or a spoiled food stench. This was the stench of sewage. From a spot in the center of the living room I surveyed the apartment and discovered the source: the commode and the area around it were covered in yuck. I dialed up the landlord. The exchange went something like thi ...more
Peter
Don't judge a book by its cover.

I'd seen this book on the shelves of a number of friends and in the arms of a number of travelers, so I decided to pick it up. The title, "Middlesex", suggested English countryside to me. On the cover was what looked like a steamship, and a quote on the back began "Part Tristram Shanty, part-Ishmael..." So I came to the foolish conclusion that this was some 19th century English seafaring novel. (Typical.)

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Middlesex is the story of a
...more
Jason
Alright, it’s high time I review this hermaphroditic little masterpiece.

Being a pseudo-biochemist (pseudo in the sense that I only pretend to be a biochemist, whereas in reality I write scientific development reports and other documents that no one will ever read but which I’ve convinced myself are just as fulfilling as doing real science), I find the premise of this novel to be incredibly interesting.

5α-Reductase deficiency is an autosomal recessive disorder; autosomal meaning that the gene cod
...more
Fabian
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Exactly the flawless masterpiece you've heard it is. I've read hundreds of novels in my day, & this is in the top 3 (On equal shelf with "A Confederacy of Dunces" and "Blonde." (My own personal trifecta perfecta: The THE the best novels of ALL TIME!)) I will never stop lauding this book. Unbelievable, mythic; the stuff from the Gods to anyone with an eye & brain to receive from the way-up up up heights.

This is LIFE AFFIRMING literature that's meant to be treasured for the rest of your li
...more
Andrew
Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Finocchiaro
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides is a surprising and wonderfully written story about the life of Calliope/Cal Stephanopolis who in the opening lines "was born twice: first, as a baby girl...and then again as a teenage boy." The subject of hermaphroditism or intersexuality is addressed throughout as the book as a running theme as the cinématographique narrator Cal looks back at his childhood as Calliope and explains his complex incestuous family history from the origins of her grandparents as Greek ...more
Cassy
This isn’t so much a review as an embarrassing story. I gave the book four stars for a reason. The writing is beautiful. I would recommend it. Now onwards to my shame.

So Brooke and I were standing in line to meet Eugenides. Please understand it was a really long line after a similarly long day at work. We passed the time chitchatting about this and that at our workplace and life in general. By the time the organizer offered post-its* to our segment of the line, we were getting silly and joked ab
...more
Cecily
This is a book about transition.
Transition from child to adult to parent and grandparent.
From native to immigrant.
From brother and sister to husband and wife.
From rural dweller to urbanite.
From modest affluence to poverty and up again.
From loving language to losing the power of speech.
From geek to hippie.
From war through peace to civil unrest.
From belief to unbelief.
From rescued to rescuer.
From moral probity to corruption and crime.
Oh, and one character transitions from female to male.

The last
...more
Candi
"Some people inherit houses; others paintings or highly insured violin bows. Still others get a Japanese tansu or a famous name. I got a recessive gene on my fifth chromosome and some very rare family jewels indeed."

Let me say first that Jeffrey Eugenides is an extraordinary storyteller! Why I’ve waited so long to read one of his books is beyond me.

Middlesex is an epic multi-generational saga of a Greek family with one of the most engaging narrative voices I’ve come across in quite some time. I
...more
Arah-Lynda
ex ovo omnia:  everything comes out of an egg.



Yowsers, there are over twenty thousand reviews of this book on this site alone, so no, cannot say that I’ve read them all, but it does get me to thinking ………..

I enjoyed this book way more than I expected.  And yet my expectations were misinformed by assumptions, most of which were my own, not the least of which was about the title.

Sometimes when reading I feel compelled to slow down, take my time.  Such was the case with this book.  It’s a marathon
...more
Taylor
May 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone with an open mind, and even some of those with closed ones.
Mr. Eugenides can do everything, or at least I am convinced of such after reading Middlesex.

I passed on this book for a long time. I kept picking it up in bookstores and putting it down. I've seen quotes from it everywhere, all of which were beautiful, and kept hearing wonderful things about it from friends. To be perfectly honest, what kept me from picking it up in the subject: a hermaphrodite. I think of myself as someone with an open mind, but the thing is that I just wasn't sure if I'd be ab
...more
F
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, greece, usa
I like books with family stories but it was very dull at some parts.

For me the start was really exciting with the grandparents.
The when they got to America it dragged for me. Over abundance of information.
Picked up towards the end again when it was more about Cal's discovery.
Trevor
Jun 10, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2002
"When I told my life story to Dr. Luce, the place where he invariably got interested was when I came to Clementine Stark. Luce didn't care about criminally smitten grandparents or silkworm boxes or serenading clarinets. To a certain extent, I understand. I even agree."
I agree too. This quote comes from page 263 and is really where the story picks up and gets into the subject the book promises--Cal's life as a hermaphrodite. Honestly, while the first 263 pages were interesting and had some impor
...more
Jacob
April 2012

Goddammit, Middlesex is beautiful. It's epic. And it's roughly 500 pages too short. That's right--too short. As a sweeping, three-generation epic novel that covers the lives of Calliope's grandparents, parents, and her own childhood before she became Cal, it's a damn near perfect novel. As the story of Cal, post-transformation, it's...sadly lacking. The last quarter of the book is rushed and unsatisfying. It's beautiful anyway, but a few hundred extra pages wouldn't have hurt...

It also
...more
°°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο   Αμ
Άρωμα και μνήμη.
Το _Μιddlesex_ είναι σελίδες γεμάτες με ιστορία, ποίηση, κωμωδία και τραγωδία.
Είναι ένα ταξίδι με ακυβέρνητο καράβι,
ο νόστος ενός ελαττωματικού γονιδίου, στο οποίο οφείλεται η ρευστότητα του φύλου.
Χρωμοσώματα, καρυότυποι, γενετικές ανωμαλίες, σύνδρομα ταυτότητας φύλου ή παραδοχής γένους, σύγχυση αρσενικών και θηλυκών χαρακτηριστικών
και πολυκεντρική απόδοση της ασυνήθιστης προσωπικής ανάπτυξης ενός μοναδικού χαρακτήρα.

Ο ερμαφρόδιτος αφηγητής και πρωταγωνιστής του βιβλίου
( ίσ
...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read a hundred so-called "classics" for the first time, then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Book #15: Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides (2002)

The story in a nutshell:
The tale of "the most famous hermaphrodite in history," Middlesex is the second and lates
...more
Kim
Feb 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
This book has all the major players....

Incest, war, teenage girl-on-girl experimental sex, deadheads, undescended testes, and a 2 inch penis.

Yep, it took me all of one chapter to realize that Middlesex was referring to something besides a county in England.

Best Part: Answering Maurice's question "What's that about?" then watching him squirm and cross his legs in obvious pain.

Worst Part: Glaring Oprah sticker on the cover telling me I've succumbed to the masses.
Robin
Hmmmmm.... what to say, what to say...

I sometimes go into a book "blind" - to be as unpolluted in my expectations as can be, looking only at the star ratings of my Goodreads friends in order to determine whether I will try a book. I knew only that an overwhelming number of my friends enjoyed it, and that it won the Pulitzer in 2003. Both great reasons for me to pick up this book.

I didn't realise until I looked on the jacket cover that the book was about an individual, Calliope (later, Cal) who
...more
Joe Valdez
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
Flying to Detroit for the Fourth of July weekend to visit my brother in Ypsilanti, I was looking for a great novel set in Michigan to read during my travels. Published in 2002, I'm confident that Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides--winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction--would be one of my favorite novels whether I read it in the Wolverine State, in a box or with a fox. This three-generational family saga leaps from Greece to Detroit, across the U.S. and then over the sea to Germany to tell the st ...more
Jason Koivu
What a big pile of everything this is!

I like books like Middlesex, one's that stretch over generations, capturing historic moments in time from different perspectives and encapsulating an era. But sometimes they can be too busy, and Middlesex is toooo damn busy.

Part of the problem is that the transgender struggles of the main character are plenty of story to work with, so there's no need to tie in an immigration from the motherland tale or set it against the 1960s Detroit riots as a background.
...more
Kelly
Sep 04, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suzanne
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
It goes without saying that this is one amazing book and my first Pulitzer winner as well. I took two weeks to read this one, but this is my issue, as always. I was incredibly inpatient, with a lifestyle that does not do well in relation to not being instantly gratified. This is such a special story, there is no instant anything. It is to be savoured and appreciated, there cannot be any rushing. I think I’m best in this instance to just write about my experience whilst reading this top notch boo ...more
Sara
Middlesex is Jeffrey Eugenides’ Pulitzer prize winning novel about a hermaphrodite, Calliope Stephanides, the family who made her, and her journey from being her father’s little girl to being his youngest son.

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.

This opening line sets up everything that is to follow, and Eugenides spins what is a difficul
...more
Megan Baxter
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my second time reading Middlesex, and I have to admit I approached it with some trepidation, wondering if I would enjoy it as much the second time, if I would be as swept up in the story, if, indeed, it would hold up.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Madeline
A storytelling hermaphrodite chronicles his family's history beginning with his grandparent's emmigration from Turkey to the US in the 1920s.
Incest. Mythology. Dysfunctional Greek families. Explosive secrets. Humor in the most unexpected places. Drugs. Sex. Hippies. Riots. Hitchhikers. The Illiad.

WHY AREN'T YOU OUT THE DOOR YET? GO. BOOKSTORE. PURCHASE. READ. YOU'RE WELCOME.
Martine
I'm torn on this book. On the one hand, I loved the story, which is, as another reviewer put it, 'the greatest, most incestuous Greek epic since the Iliad'. On the other hand, I had serious problems with some of the writing. I haven't seen my quibbles mentioned anywhere else, so I guess I'm alone on them. Or am I?

In a nutshell, Middlesex is the story of Cal, a Greek American who was born a hermaphrodite and raised as a girl before finally realising he was boy as a teenager. In about five hundred
...more
Emily May
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, 2016
“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.”

I'd heard Middlesex was about a character who was born intersex and raised as a girl - a compelling enough premise on its own - but I didn't realize this book was a rich, complex family drama, spanning multiple generations and featuring incest, immigration, family secrets and twentieth-century Ameri
...more
Barry Pierce
Jeffrey and I started on very bad terms. I read his Virgin Suicides and well that was an overhyped disappointment. The Marriage Plot is shaping up to be one of the worst books I read this year. So obviously I was apprehensive about starting this. But I did. And I liked it.

What can I say, it’s a good book! Praise the baby Jesus, Jeffrey Eugenides wrote a good book! This is a perfectly fine novel. It held my interest all the way through and I actually wanted to know what happened as the novel prog
...more
Luís C.
When the Turks invade Smyrna, two Greeks, Lefty and her sister Desdemona, embark for America, with their meager baggage and a recessive chromosome each waiting patiently to be woken up. The circumstances are favorable to them since Lefty and Desdemona profit from landing in unknown land to live their forbidden passion and to marry. Their son marrying his cousin, the little Calliope is born, girl for everyone, although having the gonads of both sexes.
The novel is divided into two main parts: the
...more
Julie
If you're the type of person who covers your eyes as you watch a sex scene in a movie, this may not be the book for you. Some of the lovin' here is graphic and unconventional, and it's easy to squirm around in discomfort.

But, if you love good storytelling, great storytelling, you may be willing to overlook a few less than ideal feelings in your intestines.

Eugenides is an exceptional writer, and I marveled at some of his images. His writing is fresh and different and inviting. But, more than any
...more
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6,581 followers
Jeffrey Kent Eugenides is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer of Greek and Irish extraction.

Eugenides was born in Detroit, Michigan, of Greek and Irish descent. He attended Grosse Pointe's private University Liggett School. He took his undergraduate degree at Brown University, graduating in 1983. He later earned an M.A. in Creative Writing from Stanford University.

In
...more
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“Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind.” 3733 likes
“It was one of those humid days when the atmosphere gets confused. Sitting on the porch, you could feel it: the air wishing it was water.” 1666 likes
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