Customer Reviews for

Middlesex

Average Rating 4.5
( 611 )
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(343)

4 Star

(154)

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(69)

2 Star

(26)

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(19)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

38 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

Sated with controvercy and good writing

Very interesting read. On the surface, a story about a Greek-American hermaphrodite. Calliope/Cal narrates this tale of birth and rebirth.
Cal describes the family history and traces the journey of a rare, recessive gene over about 80 years. Cal's grandparents flee ...
Very interesting read. On the surface, a story about a Greek-American hermaphrodite. Calliope/Cal narrates this tale of birth and rebirth.
Cal describes the family history and traces the journey of a rare, recessive gene over about 80 years. Cal's grandparents flee from their burning home in a small village in Turkey. Desdemona and Lefty, brother and sister, reinvent themselves during their journey to America and get married. When their son marries his cousin, two recessive genes collide. The result? Calliope, raised as a girl until an emergency room doctor notices something different about her. A visit to a famous specialist in New York sets Calliope on a completely new path and she is reborn as Cal.
Excellent character development and the intricate details of Cal's convoluted family history will keep readers turning pages. The normal adolescent angst and sexual exploration take on a whole new dimension, yet these issues are handled with grace, sensitivity, and, often, humor.
I did not expect to like this book, as it was on my "have to read" list, rather than the "want to read" list. Nevertheless, Cal's story grabbed me from the very first lines. I found this to be an excellent read.

posted by BANCHEE_READS on October 29, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

boring!!!!!!!!

I just couldnt get into this book..I tried reading the first 100 pages and couldnt read it I was falling asleep.

posted by mlisd81 on May 27, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Sated with controvercy and good writing

    Very interesting read. On the surface, a story about a Greek-American hermaphrodite. Calliope/Cal narrates this tale of birth and rebirth.<BR/>Cal describes the family history and traces the journey of a rare, recessive gene over about 80 years. Cal's grandparents flee from their burning home in a small village in Turkey. Desdemona and Lefty, brother and sister, reinvent themselves during their journey to America and get married. When their son marries his cousin, two recessive genes collide. The result? Calliope, raised as a girl until an emergency room doctor notices something different about her. A visit to a famous specialist in New York sets Calliope on a completely new path and she is reborn as Cal.<BR/>Excellent character development and the intricate details of Cal's convoluted family history will keep readers turning pages. The normal adolescent angst and sexual exploration take on a whole new dimension, yet these issues are handled with grace, sensitivity, and, often, humor.<BR/>I did not expect to like this book, as it was on my "have to read" list, rather than the "want to read" list. Nevertheless, Cal's story grabbed me from the very first lines. I found this to be an excellent read.

    38 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Gripping, Moving Page-turner

    I loved this novel. I picked up this fat tome with some trepidation, hearing it was inspired by a memoir discovered and promoted by Foucault by and about a hermaphrodite. I pictured some post-modern turgid avant-garde mess--like Delillo's Underworld, which had been on the same recommendation list. Instead I found what was promised in Underworld's blurbs was fulfilled in Middlesex--a Great American Novel--and a page-turner.

    Strangely, in the tale of a hermaphrodite I didn't find anything remotely freakish, but humanely universal, as if by having this protagonist of an ambiguous gender, Eugenides was able to embrace and bridge both (all?) genders. It's an ambitious work, taking in about 80 years from his Greek immigrant grandparents roots in Turkey, to his parents and childhood in Detroit, to his coming of age on the road from New York City to San Francisco and his current life at a diplomatic posting in Germany. It takes in massacres in Turkey, Ellis Island, the development of America's car culture, Prohibition with it's Speakeasies and bootlegging, The Great Depression, World War II, The Nation of Islam, Detroit race riots and Black/White relations, the sexual revolution, politics, religion--there doesn't seem anything missed, and yet nothing that feels rambling or contrived or caricatured.

    The voice is miraculous. Technically it's a first person narrative, but it breaks the bonds of that point of view into an expansive omniscience in telling its story of three generations: Book One dealing with his grandparents in Turkey and their immigration to Detroit; Book Two with the story of his grandparents and parents in Detroit before his birth; Book Three with his childhood and early adolescence; Book Four with his crisis of identity when doctors discover he's not the girl he was raised to be. Even in those two parts of the book during his own lifetime, the narration has that expansive, feel of third person omniscience, but with the intimacy of the first person voice.

    Eugenides makes me feel for his characters. I ached for Callie--and Cal--both. I worried for him. I hoped for him. I was propelled through the 500 pages not wanting to skip one paragraph and ended it sorry it was over and wanting to read this again sometime--and Eugenides other novel.

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Great Creative Epic

    One of the most stimulating and original books I have read. Truly, a modern-day epic. This is one of my favorite books of all time. Highly recommended.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    An excellent read. Written well enough that it will be a tough act to follow. There are not too many modern day fiction novelist with this type of talent for word usage and sentence structure. It tickles the senses.

    Much better than most books on the Oprah Book Club Series so don't be discouraged if you are not a fan of the "list". This one is a don't miss.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2011

    Unbelievable, heartwrenching, fascinating

    An absolute must in any library of any age, sex, or profession

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2011

    A Fresh Main Character of an Original Epic

    Calliope Stephanides undergoes birth and rebirth as she discovers that she is a hermaphrodite. Yes, this book is interesting. Yes, this book is about a hermaphrodite. But that isn't the one determining factor in making Middlesex memorable. Eugenides writes so beautifully that he instills a certain quality of life into his characters. Cal is so humane, charming enough so that you don't sympathize with him and instead continue reading to learn more about him; this fresh and imaginative character's flaw is just another stepping stone in his life. Even Desdemona and Lefty's incestuous relationship wrenches your heart, being so genuine yet sinful. Eugenides writes this book in a thoughtful perspective; it's filled with love and empty of regrets and resentment. Middlesex is certainly an unforgettable book, moving your soul as you stayed fixed to your seat reading this heartfelt tale.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2010

    AMAZING!

    I am reading oprahs book club books and I was looking for something else but ended up with this. It didn't really appeal to me but I absolutely loved this book. I couldn't put it down. Everything about it was amazing and I was crying by the end. I recommend it to anyone.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    Terrific read. Writing is superlative. Topic very, very thought provoking.

    A real treasure in so many ways.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2013

    Unbelievable...unforgettable

    I read this book a number of years ago.there is no other book this I read that compares to it. It is the story of a person from Michigan whose story goes back before they were even born. The author did a wonderful job at completely drawing one into the story and its characters. This is a must read for every one. It deals with taboo issues, American history...I don't want to say more and ruin the novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    Wonderful

    One of the best books I've read that truly shows the main characters thoughts as an individual. I would definitely read it time and time again, and suggest it as a interesting read to friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    Great read!!

    This is an unbelievable book. I dont want to reveal too much about the plot, but the transformation that the characters go through is incredible. This book will not only make you laugh and cry but will make you stop and think about how you truly feel. It is an absolute must read!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Wonderfully Unique

    I've noticed a couple low reviews saying this book was dull and difficult to read. My experience was nothing of the sort, as I found the tale completely captivating and unexpected. I tore through the entire novel within a matter of a couple days. My grandmother loaned it to my mother who then gave it to me, so three generations of readers recommend it to others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Beautiful story

    Great story - this offers a glimpse of American history while raising poignant thoughts about what being intersexed means.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Best i have read this year!!!

    I have not read a book so far this year that comes close to the beautifully descriptive pages of this book. Far more than understanding characters,i actually found myself sympathizing and living their lives through these pages. An absolute joy to read.....thank you for sharing your story and further educating our world....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Middlesex is an extremely well written novel based on gender con

    Middlesex is an extremely well written novel based on gender confusion and the fascinating recount of the history of a family. This book kept me reading during my every free moment, even when I had the opportunity to read one or just a few pages. This is a great book which any reader will have difficulties putting down for a moment. But one thing for sure is that I will start looking for more books like this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    Most amazing read

    I read the virgin suicides first and fell in love. So I had high standards for this novel and found those standards met

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2011

    FANTASTIC

    After ready a few trashy books, it was such a relief to read something so incredibly well written.

    If you don't like disturbing stories, this book probably isn't for you. But the language & voice is fantastic, and I was captivated the whole time.

    The book does go through a lot of the family's history, so if you are impatient and just want to get to the end, relax. It's really worth reading. Be patient, and enjoy it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    Fantastic

    Couldnt put it down

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    Highly recommended!

    I could not put this book down. I really enjoyed the characters, the story, the places, really just everything about this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    Right up there with correllis mandolin

    This is by far one of the best books I've had the pleasure of reading. Eugenides descriptive and in depth prose along with a complete history lesson will entertain and educate you. You will love the characters and gain compassion amd understanding for human differences.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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