Previously adapted into a critically acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola starring Kirsten Dunst, this is the story of the five Lisbon sisters - beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the entire neighbourhood. The boys that once loved them from afar are now grown men, determined to understand a tragedy that has always defied explanation. For ...
Previously adapted into a critically acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola starring Kirsten Dunst, this is the story of the five Lisbon sisters - beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the entire neighbourhood. The boys that once loved them from afar are now grown men, determined to understand a tragedy that has always defied explanation. For still, the question remains - why did all five of the Lisbon girls take their own lives? This hypnotic and unforgettable novel treats adolescent love and death with haunting sensitivity and dark humour, and creates a coming-of-age story unlike any of our time.
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A quick, dark read. If you saw the movie the book is even better.
Jan 29, 2010
An insightful suburban fiction
The novel by Jeffrey Eugenides is a very interesting read. The unique narration, that consist of voices of several men looking back on their childhood neighbourhood, is stylized as an investigation report. The multiple narrator presents the readers with testimonials of eye-witnesses of a tragedy that took place in a suburban neighbourhood. Five teenage girls, "the Lisbon girls"all commited suicides within one year. The narrator tries to find the reasons for their final choice and put the pices of the puzzle together. The novel explores such themes as adolecent depression, dysfuncionality in a family and tennage fascination with the opposite sex. The story is told in a very poetic way with vivid yet subtle imaginery of elusive girls. Definitely worth reading.
Dec 26, 2008
The suicide death of a young girl throws her parents into a state of panic concerning the lives of their remaining four beautiful daughters. The girls become prisoners in their home as their mother obsesses over their well-being, refusing to allow them to go out. The neighbor boy (narrator) and his friends seek out ways to communicate with the house-bound girls. Meanwhile, they imagination runs wild about what the girls are really like, how they live and how they will rescue them. Haunting and well-written, this story is not only tragic but campy. A mesmerizing read, it is difficult to put down.
Nov 29, 2007
Don't be afraid, read it.
I waited years to read this book because I had the idea that it would be darkly disturbing. In essence it is disturbing, but not at all hard to read. It went by so quickly I was shocked when I came to the last page.
Five sisters, controlled by a mother who has no idea what kind of harm she is inflicting, kill themselves within a year of each other. The story is told from the neighbors' point of view. A group of young men who go to school with the girls, but because of their own innocence and lack of understanding, the story does not come across as harsh or dark. They don't know what to do to help, and I'm honestly not even sure it occured to the boys to try to help. That is adult territory.
The story is strange, but the writing is superb.
Jul 9, 2007
I love Eugenides
It is a beautifully written novel that is almost lyrical. The story is told through the eyes of one of the neighbor boys who obsesses over and ?loves? the girls along with all of his buddies. At one point in the novel the narrator connects the deaths of the stately Elms to the deaths of the five sisters. The author paints the picture of summer in Grosse Pointe so vividly you can almost smell the decaying fish flys. The narrator draws the reader in to the point where you feel that you are with them kneeling in the dirt outside the girls house or trying to enter the sewer system in a effort to help the girls. Their desperation and despair becomes your own. I highly recommend this book!
Publishers Weekly, 1993-02-15 Eugenides's tantalizing, macabre first novel begins with a suicide, the first of the five bizarre deaths of the teenage daughters in the Lisbon family; the rest of the work, set in the author's native Michigan in the early 1970s, is a backward-looking quest as the male narrator and his nosy, horny pals describe how they strove to understand the odd clan of this first chapter, which appeared in the Paris Review , where it won the 1991 Aga Khan Prize for fiction. The sensationalism of the subject matter (based loosely on a factual account) may be off-putting to some readers, but Eugenides's voice is so fresh and compelling, his powers of observation so startling and acute, that most will be mesmerized. The title derives from a song by the fictional rock band Cruel Crux, a favorite of the Lisbon daughter Lux--who, unlike her sisters Therese, Mary, Bonnie and Cecilia, is anything but a virgin by the tale's end. Her mother forces Lux to burn the album along with others she considers dangerously provocative. Mr. Lisbon, a mild-mannered high school math teacher, is driven to resign by parents who believe his control of their children may be as deficient as his control of his own brood. Eugenides risks sounding sophomoric in his attempt to convey the immaturity of high-school boys; while initially somewhat discomfiting, the narrator's voice (representing the collective memories of the group) acquires the ring of authenticity. The author is equally convincing when he describes the older locals' reactions to the suicide attempts. Under the narrator's goofy, posturing banter are some hard truths: mortality is a fact of life; teenage girls are more attracted to brawn than to brains (contrary to the testimony of the narrator's male relatives). This is an auspicious debut from an imaginative and talented writer. Literary Guild selection. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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