- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 21 hours and 26 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: April 25, 2003
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00009KEJ6
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Middlesex Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
The brilliance of this book emerges not from the superficial story of a hermaphrodite but from the context - historical, scientific, psychological, political, geographical - of Cal's birth and subsequent rebirth. MIDDLESEX is about much more than gender confusion. Cal's mixed gender can be taken as a metaphor for the experience of first- and second-generations born of immigrants.
While the context of this story provides the substance, the characters provide the vibrancy. Cal emerges as a reliable and likeable narrator. He is sensible, good-humored, and intelligent. The spectrum of his experiences provides a smooth transition between childhood and adult, enabling the reader to embrace the character as both male and female. Cal's family is affectionately portrayed, even with their failings. (Cal's brother, Chapter Eleven, annoyed me with his name, a running gag, but even he ended up a full-blooded character by the end.)
Eugenides has written an expansive, compelling book. Despite its length of over 500 pages, the novel is not a slow read - unless the reader wants it to be, to make it last. Accessible, intelligent, well-paced and plotted, it should appeal to a wide range of readers.
I can't recommend this novel highly enough.
1) the novel cannot be so narrowly defined as simply being about a hermaphrodite; it's about the American dream; racism; finding oneself; the difficulties and confusing emotions of adolescence; politics; the inextricable link between history and each human being affecting and being affected by it... put simply, it's about life. And:
2) Eugenides' writing style is so descriptive and engaging that the reader is transported directly into the mind of the narrator, making the fact that Callie happens to be a hermaphrodite almost irrelevant--she/he is just a normal person with a slightly unusual body.
By the end of Book 3 I was convinced this was the best book I ever read. And then I read Book 4, the last 100 pages, and felt cheated, robbed somehow of the magic of the first 400 pages. The novel takes an exceedingly far-fetched and rambling turn; it is almost palpable that Eugenides was getting pressure from the publisher to wrap things up and rushed through the end of the book without really thinking through a satisfying conclusion. The writing style falls apart; the descriptiveness and magic is gone, and the story degenerates into a rather plain narrative of a freak's life. The real heart of the matter, how a seemingly normal person who happens to be a hermaphrodite copes with the discovery, never comes, and the 25 years of Callie's life between end of story and beginning of narration are never explained. Eugenides almost gives in to the freak factor by the end, leaving the reader with the lingering sensation upon finishing the book that Callie is merely a circus sideshow.
So, proportional to the number of pages that I thought this book was great, it gets 4 out of 5 stars from me. Almost but not quite!
The novel follows three generations of the Stephanides family, and it faces a general problem with such multigenerational works --it's hard to get the reader deeply involved in the lives of the grandparents, then put these characters aside and transfer one's interest to the parents, and then finally to make a third transfer of interest to the children.
Eugenides succeeded in getting me interested in the grandparents (Desdemona and Lefty), their escape from Turkey, and their life in America. But the second generation, Milton and Tessie, was less compelling. Milton becomes a cliche'd Archie Bunker sort of character, and Tessie isn't well-developed at all. They are not very interesting or memorable characters, and we spend way too much time with them.
Cal/Callie's story is fascinating, but it seems to end far too soon. The book ends shortly after s/he has discovered and accepted her transgendered nature at age 15. But the narrator is roughly 40, and we don't get to learn anything about the intervening 25 years. How did Cal get from being a newly discovered boy to being a diplomat in Germany? What was his life like in the intervening years? And what is it like now?
There are real flashes of brilliance in this book, but ultimately I was disappointed and feel that it doesn't come together.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There was a good balance of some humor and sadness and enough earthiness to make it something I could relate to with respect to immigrant grandparents, neighborhood cultural... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Brian Cunningham
This is a story of details so palpable you can taste them, of how we are marked by genetics but not fated to live by that chemistry. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Patti Lesser
Very interesting, from the troubles of refugees to the changes of Detroit as well as coming to realizing and accepting hermaphroditismPublished 9 days ago by William Kettner
This book’s style and scope bring a extraordinary story of three generations, spanning Greek-Turkish wars, world wars, migration, integration—and focus on the life of a... Read morePublished 9 days ago by claudia Harper
This is two stories tied into one. It's a bit long, but is intriguing all the way through. I don't know if the grandparents story is more engaging or that of the child raised as... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Yoga Beginner
Coming to Middlesex after being a long time fan of The Virgin Suicides, I was not disappointed. Middlesex offers a robust story about discovering ones gender while sprinkling in... Read morePublished 14 days ago by dione j stearns