Thursday, April 28, 2005
How Good is Middlesex?
I said I would recap the discussion of Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides, for you. The general consensus was that the book was very well-written and dealt with sensitive issues fairly well. Reading about the sad main character's affliction was painful; to imagine that there are numbers of these people in our world is also sad.
Most of us who finished the book found the reading somewhat compelling. Some enjoyed the whole book a lot. Some felt the beginning was slow. I thought the ending was complete and fitting, and I wondered before our discussion whether anyone would dislike the ending. Some liked the ending, and, as usual, there was criticism of the ending.
There was some discussion as to whether the main character's sexual awakening was too prolonged; some felt that at least some of the detail was needed to give a basis for the character's later decision to run from surgery. Others felt the sex to be somewhat gratuitous and in the way.
Some enjoyed the history; I felt like the history of Detroit's streets had little to do with the story and was uninteresting. The history of the small Greek town and it's genetic isolation was generally enjoyed. Often these days, I see "seams" in books, where the author has obviously researched and feels the need to insert facts. I felt there was a bit too much historic detail that did not have anything to do with the story and was, therefore, misleading.
Well, I think this would have been a bit more poignant had I written it right after the discussion. I tend to forget details of stories and of our discussions as the days go by.
One of my friends recently told me that she will be reading Middlesex soon, not knowing that I had just finished it. She said, "It's supposed to be the best book ever written!"
So, did you miss something?