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Discussion Archives > February 2014: Middlesex

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message 1: by Rachel Jorquera , Moderator (new)

Rachel Jorquera  (racheljorquera) | 2955 comments Mod
Discussion starts here!

message 2: by Allie (new)

Allie I read this book last year - did not like. Just curious what everyone thinks of the brother's name Chapter Eleven???

message 3: by Phrynne (last edited Feb 12, 2014 05:20PM) (new)

Phrynne Oh good Allie - you are asking the same question as me! Why is he called Chapter Eleven. I thought I must have missed something.
I finished the book last night and gave it four stars. I enjoyed reading it although the subject matter is confronting at times. However I thought the ending was less well constructed than the rest of the book and this let it down a bit. It was a much easier read than I thought it would be.

My review is here: although it may be teeny bit spoilerish if you haven't finished the book yet.

message 4: by Julia (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) Phrynne, I was looking forward to reading your review, but the link isn't working on my computer for some reason (I blame it on the Pixel Pixies who live in my monitor and enjoy creating havoc!). Could you post it again, please?

message 5: by Phrynne (new)

Phrynne Sorry - somehow I managed to join up the words to the link!
Should be

message 6: by Phrynne (new)

Phrynne I just googled "Why is the brother called Chapter Eleven?" and got Jeffrey Eugenides's own answer. It's too hard for me to explain so if anyone wants the answer just google!!!

message 7: by Julia (last edited Feb 13, 2014 06:51AM) (new)

Julia (juliastrimer) Phrynne wrote: "Sorry - somehow I managed to join up the words to the link!
Should be"

Thanks, Phrynne :-) And I just googled the Eugenides information on "Chapter 11":

"Cal, the narrator of Middlesex, never refers to Chapter Eleven by his given name. Neither does anyone in the book. The nickname, "Chapter Eleven," is bestowed on Cal's brother by Cal himself, retroactively, in the act of writing the book....
As for the meaning of the nickname, that's another story. The character of Chapter Eleven is introduced in the first pages of the novel but it's not until page 512 that Cal provides clues as to what this name means. There's a long passage where Cal sketches what will happen to his brother in the years to come, but, unlike just about every other Stephanides family story, Cal elects not to go into it. Still, the hints are there and include the maxing out of credit cards, etc., all of which point to a situation that might involve something known in U.S. tax law as Chapter 11."

Chapter 11 is one of the forms of bankruptcy in the U.S.. My question would be why Eugenides even created such a character! He has said that non-U.S. readers don't "get" the allusion.

message 8: by Allie (new)

Allie In another thread on GR's many readers actually turned to chapter 11 in the book hoping for clues!

message 9: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1249 comments I read this back in 2004 and gave it 4****
Link to my review:

message 10: by Rachel Jorquera , Moderator (new)

Rachel Jorquera  (racheljorquera) | 2955 comments Mod
Really upset I did not have time for this! Next time!

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