21st Century Book Club discussion

Middlesex > Incest in Middlesex [Early Spoilers]

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I find the incestuous relationship of the main character's grandparents kind of interesting, and thought it was worthy of discussion. I'm only about 20% of the wa into the book, but it is interesting that it kind of paints incest in a positive light. We are taught by society and (if you are into that sort of thing) religion that incest is bad, end of story, and I never really questioned that before. More often than not, incest is portrayed as non-consensual, usually in the form of parental abuse of their children. What are we supposed to make of it here?

message 2: by Logophile (new)

Logophile | 17 comments Mod
I think one of the themes of Middlesex is how we get to be who we are, so the incest in that sense is just part of Cal's story. I don't know that the incest itself is positively portrayed so much as the grandparents are likable characters and the incest is presented in a rather matter-of-fact, nonjudgmental way as part of what is, after all, their love story. To the extent that this sort of consensual incest is a crime with a victim, that victim would be Cal, and I think it's part of how we learn about Cal's character--that he doesn't reflect with anger and bitterness or self-pity.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Do you think,t hen, that it is a victimless crime unless the would-be victim thinks of it that way?

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