Friday, March 6, 2009

The Fabulous World of Jeffrey Eugenides

The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Jeffrey Eugenides is a mad genius. Even if I cannot ever hope to reach the talent he exudes through his works I will nonetheless try to mimic his writing style for this blog entry (bold, I know, but it’s Friday and I’m feeling frisky). Ok, maybe I’ll just write in the first person plural in tribute to The Virgin Suicides (whatever, it’s Friday and I’m drained)
When we first stumbled upon The Virgin Suicides there was a sense of unease, as if the darkness it contained would waft into our own lives, a macabre presence that we weren’t sure we wanted. But it compelled us just the same. We witnessed the events of the Lisbon sisters and we could not look away. And it was sad, but it was beautiful too, and we read it hungrily and craved the inevitable sadness as much as we reviled it.
Looking years ahead, Eugenides dropped another tale of ripe misfortune upon us. And this time we did refuse. We refused it and did not go near it, as much as Oprah taunted. We thought that we might have given it a try if Oprah had not been so insistent, so in our faces (we realize Oprah would have it no other way; we realize this is part of Oprah’s charm, but we still resent it). But in the end, Middlesex wormed its way in, and we were sent on our journey and we would never look back. How shall we put this? Don’t let the plot description weird you out. If there were ever a book that was about so much more than its plot description, Middlesex would be it. So let’s focus on what does matter: the story spans several generations, and we fall in love with each one. The pacing is fast yet intricate; so much goes into every description we become part of each scene before being whisked away to the next. We laughed at the characterizations, but we also felt attuned to them. The ending reminded us of Song of Solomon: a glimpse of the protagonist’s ascension into his own mythology. He becomes part of the whole, and we know we will only be richer for having witnessed it.

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