Synopses & Reviews
I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent drivers license...records my first name simply as Cal.
So begins 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 l967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.
Middlesex is the winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
"[A]n uproarious epic, at once funny and sad, about misplaced identities and family secrets....Mr. Eugenides has a keen sociological eye for 20th-century American life." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"It's a gas, a romp, the cat's pajamas....The convolutions of the novel's plot, its big gestures, its deftly handled threads of imagery and symbolism and its wealth of detail combine to produce a largely delightful read." Bethany Schneider, New York Newsday
"Middlesex isn't just a respectable sophomore effort; it's a towering achievement, and it can now be stated unequivocally that Eugenides' initial triumph wasn't a one-off or a fluke. He has emerged as the great American writer that many of us suspected him of being." Jeff Turrentine, The Los Angeles Times
"[I]t's off proportionally, both section-to-section and overall, its two halves at odds, each interesting at times but neither truly satisfying, despite Eugenides's prodigious talent. Like Cal, it's damned by its own abundance, not quite sure what it wants to be." Stewart O'Nan, Atlantic Monthly
(read the entire Atlantic review
"Middlesex vibrates with wit....A virtuosic combination of elegy, sociohistorical study, and picaresque adventure: altogether irrestistable." Kirkus Reviews
"Here's your heads-up....Yes, it's that good....A novel of chance, family, sex, surgery, and America, it contains multitudes." Jonathan Miles, Men's Journal
"Part Tristram Shandy, part Ishmael, part Holden Caulfield, Cal is a wonderfully engaging narrator. . . A deeply affecting portrait of one familys tumultuous engagement with the American twentieth century." --The New York Times
"Expansive and radiantly generous. . . Deliriously American." --The New York Times Book Review (cover review)
"A towering achievement. . . . [Eugenides] has emerged as the great American writer that many of us suspected him of being." --Los Angeles Times Book Review (cover review)
"A big, cheeky, splendid novel. . . it goes places few narrators would dare to tread. . . lyrical and fine." --The Boston Globe
"An epic. . . This feast of a novel is thrilling in the scope of its imagination and surprising in its tenderness." --People
"Unprecedented, astounding. . . . The most reliably American story there is: A son of immigrants finally finds love after growing up feeling like a freak." --San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"Middlesex is about a hermaphrodite in the way that Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel is about a teenage boy. . . A novel of chance, family, sex, surgery, and America, it contains multitudes." --Mens Journal
"Wildly imaginative. . . frequently hilarious and touching." --USA Today
In his second novel, the author once again proves himself to be a wildly imaginative writer....Likely to hold readers in thrall with its affecting characterizations of a brave and lonely soul and its vivid depiction of exactly what it means to be both male and female.” Booklist
"Eugenides proves that he is not only a unique voice in modern literature but also well versed in the nature of the human heart. Highly recommended." Library Journal
The Pulitzer Prize-winning story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American family who travel from a tiny village. Calliope is not like other girls and must uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction.
In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry blond classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them — along with Callie's failure to develop physically — leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, she is not really a girl at all.
The explanation for this shocking state of affairs is a rare genetic mutation — and a guilty secret — that have followed Callie's grandparents from the crumbling Ottoman Empire to Prohibition-era Detroit and beyond, outlasting the glory days of the Motor City, the race riots of 1967, and the family's second migration, into the foreign country known as suburbia. Thanks to the gene, Callie is part girl, part boy. And even though the gene's epic travels have ended, her own odyssey has only begun.
Spanning eight decades — and one unusually awkward adolescence — Jeffrey Eugenides's long-awaited second novel is a grand, original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire.
About the Author
was born in Detroit and attended Brown and Stanford Universities. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides
, was published by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux to great acclaim in 1993, and he has received numerous awards for his work.