By Jeffrey Eugenides
It seems like there has been a lot of popular interest in the Greek-American experience in the wake of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It's an interesting phenomenon. Whether that has anything to do with the popularity and high acclaim won by Middlesex I couldn't say. I can say that I enjoyed it, though. The first word that comes to mind when I try to think of how to describe Middlesex is "epic." It's not a bad choice, really, as the book is spans three generations of the Stephanides family. The fact that the narrator and main character is named for the Greek muse of epic poetry is also a nice touch. On the one hand the book is an explanation of the family history that produced Calliope Stephanides. Beneath that, though it's also a look at the history of America as experienced by an immigrant family. The scope of the story could have been pretty overwhelming, but the narration provides a sense of intimacy that manages to hold it together. On the other hand, that very closeness also creates a curious sense of distance from the other characters. My one complaint is that I wish the author would have chosen a tense and stuck with it; the constant switching from present tense to past and back again was very jarring.
Started: 1/11/2005 | Finished: 2/8/2005