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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2003
In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry-blonde classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them - along with Callie's failure to develop physically - leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, she is not really a girl at all. The explanation for this shocking state of affairs is a rare genetic mutation - and a guilty secret - that have followed Callie's grandparents from the crumbling Ottoman Empire to Prohibition-era Detroit and beyond, outlasting the glory days of the Motor City, the race riots of 1967, and the family's second migration, into the foreign country known as suburbia. Thanks to the gene, Callie is part girl, part boy. And even though the gene's epic travels have ended, her own odyssey has only begun.
Spanning eight decades - and one unusually awkward adolescence - Jeffrey Eugenides' long-awaited second novel is a grand, original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire.
©2002 Jeffrey Eugenides (P)2002 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
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Critic Reviews

Audie Award Winner, Fiction (Unabridged), 2003 " "Impressive [and] wonderfully engaging." (The New York Times)
"Eugenides proves that he is not only a unique voice in modern literature but also well versed in the nature of the human heart. Highly recommended." (Library Journal )
"A towering achievement...a story that manages to be both illuminating and transcendent...[Eugenides] has emerged as the great American writer many of us suspected him of being." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"Not only are his interpretations of the characters astonishingly credible, but his internalization of the narrative is nothing short of amazing." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Christopher Allen walker on 08-08-05

Great Pulitzer Winning novel!

Few of the reviews I have read on have done justice to this magnificent narrative. "Middlesex", Jeffrey Eugenides second novel, tells the story of Calliope, a male-pseudo hermaphrodite. But the novel does not deal with a narrow political issue or become a polemic and gender or sex. Rather, the novel uses the narrator's peculiar genetic make-up (and Greek ancestry) to boil down humanity and find the common core we all share--love, sorrow, life, and death.

This novel is truly well written. Eugenides has a knack for weaving a fascinating story around historical events and changing social attitudes and customs. The narrative has just the right amount of digression--musing on such topics as race, Greek mythology and the history of Detroit. Though many authors try to use the technique of lingering of the details of a narrative, few succeed, and fewer still are able to make relevant digressions which build on the characters in the story. Eugenides succeeds at this admirably.

Though nearly so, the book is not perfect. There are times when the eccentricities of the characters become grating on the nerves, and times when such oddities seem unrealistic. But perhaps these flaws are meant to add the comic to this modern Greek tragedy. Another flaw, as I see it, of the production is the cheesy music thrown in at the most poignant moments of the narratives.

In all, this is an excellent production, and well worth the time and money. Another bonus is that listeners have the chance to listen to a Pulitzer winning narrative from an author who will likely produce other great novels (if you haven't read "The Virgin Suicides," by Eugenides, you should).

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71 of 74 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By D. N. Meads on 08-28-09

Worth Waiting It Out

I began listening to the book and about 15 minutes into it I was kicking myself for downloading a bummer of a book.

I thought I had erased it from my reader, but discovered it was still there one day when another book I'd been listening to was over. I was out and about and had nothing else to do so I listened to this one.... and another 30 minutes later I found it starting to grow on me.

That means it took nearly 45 minutes to get into this book, but once I did, I never looked back. I listened to the rest over the next couple of days, not wanting to take off the headphones unless I had to.

If you'd have asked me during the first 30 minutes, I'd have given you a rating of 2. AS it is I give it a rating of 4 and was glad I waited it out.

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87 of 91 people found this review helpful

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