'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 driver's 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 ...
'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 driver's 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 Point, 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.
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Difficult to get into...bogs down with esoteric language and thoughts but...worth the effort just to see how the author pulls it all together.
Nov 17, 2011
Good but Different
This story is the coming of age of a hermafrodite, And also the story of his grandparents, which is quite colorful. It is easy reading and keeps your interest.
Jun 29, 2008
Surpisingly, I liked it! 4.5 stars!
I'll have to join the ranks of many of the other reviewers here and say I probably never would have read this book if it hadn't been chosen for my book club. I, too, thought the story would be a one dimensional search for gender identity--not so. I was hooked from the beginning. I would describe the story as one of an American family through generations--their journey just happened to produce a certain side effect compared to other families' journeys. Being just a few years younger than Cal I appreciated the nostalgic references to the cultural symbols, products, events, and fashions/styles of the day. I thought the author also chose an interesting omnicient narrative style (by Cal) for the story as well. I did have a couple of squirmy moments (the scenes with Dr. Luce really creeped me out). I only give it 4.5 stars simply because I would really have to know someone fairly well to recommend the book.
Jan 11, 2008
Y E S ! ! !
I was hooked by the opening sentence and taken on a journey into another world. This is an outstanding example of how fiction can educate and enlighten us. The author has created a hero (heroine) we can admire, empathize with and laugh with through a difficult life changing self discovery.
A perfect book for Book Club discussions!
Jan 10, 2008
Although it's a well written novel and moves along at a brisk pace, I never got the "wow" factor that so many others seemed to get from this novel. Truly I was amazed that not only was this a bestseller but also a Pulitzer prize winner too.
Essentially Middlesex is two novels in one. The first half is a historical emigrant novel against the back drop of historical events and the second half is a coming of age novel of an awkward girl who just so happens to be a hermaphrodite.
I was really expecting something more, something edgy, something gritty. Middlesex is a novel for middle America who want to read a "safe" novel without feeling uncomfortable about the subject matter. In that regard it succeeds.
The only thing I enjoyed was the realization why Cal's brother is called Chapter Eleven. Ultimately I was extremely underwhelmed with it all.
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