Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides! I know I had explained before that I just LOVE the Virgin Suicides, but I've never read anything else of his! I had this book for a loooong time (and only got it for a dollar)! So it's time for me to bust into it and fall in love. :) I've heard great things about this, and I hope it turns out better than the last book! Now onto the plot...
The novel begins with the 41-year-old narrator recounting how the recessive condition 5-alpha-reductase deficiency caused him to be born with female characteristics. The name he is given at birth is the feminine Calliope or "Callie". After learning about the syndrome as an adolescent, Calliope changes his name to the masculine name Cal. The first half of the story,Middlesex, is based on events that occurred prior to Callie's birth. At one point, the narrator briefly explains how his grandmother, Desdemona, predicted Cal would be a boy, while his parents made preparations for the birth of a girl. Throughout the novel, the narration periodically returns to the frame story of present-day Cal—a bearded man who is sexually attracted to women—foreshadowing the personal revelations of Callie.
Flashing back to a small village in Asia Minor, the novel follows the stories of the protagonist's Greek paternal grandparents. Cal's grandfather, Eleutherios "Lefty" Stephanides, and grandmother, Desdemona Stephanides, are orphaned siblings who share a close bond. Despite their initial misgivings, their bond later develops into a romantic relationship. In the aftermath of the 1922 Greco-Turkish War and amid graphic scenes of the Great Fire of Smyrna, the siblings are forced to seek refuge by emigrating to America. On the eve of their departure, Desdemona agrees to marry her brother. Despite legal and social prohibitions against marriage between siblings, they can marry because no one in America knows they are brother and sister. They reach the United States and settle in Detroit, Michigan, in the home of their cousin, Sourmelina "Lina" Zizmo, a closeted lesbian, and her husband, Jimmy, a bootlegger. Lefty enters Jimmy's smuggling business, while Desdemona gives birth to a son, Milton, and later a daughter, Zoe. Lina gives birth to a daughter, Theodora or "Tessie". After she is made aware of the potential for disease in children through consanguinity, Desdemona becomes anxious about her pregnancy and the morality of her sexual relationship with Lefty. As his marriage declines, Lefty opens a bar and gambling room, calling it the Zebra Room.
Eventually, Lefty and Desdemona's son, Milton, marries Lina's daughter, Tessie. Milton and Tessie, second cousins, have two children, Chapter Eleven and Callie. Chapter Eleven[note 2]is a biologically "normal" boy, while Callie is intersexed. This is unknown to the family for many years, so Callie is raised as a girl. After the 1967 Detroit riot, the family moves to a house on the street Middlesex, located in the Grosse Pointe neighborhood. The novel's title is a double entendre, in that it describes both his intersexual identity and the name of the street on which Callie lived in the 1970s.
When she is 14 years old, Callie falls in love with her female best friend, referred to in the novel as the "Obscure Object".[note 3] Around this time, Callie has her first sexual experiences with both genders, the Obscure Object and the Obscure Object's brother. After Callie is injured by a tractor, a doctor discovers that Callie is intersexed, and she is taken to a clinic in New York where she undergoes a series of tests and examinations. Faced with the prospect of sex reassignment surgery, Callie runs away and assumes a male identity as Cal. Cal hitchhikes cross-country until he reaches San Francisco, where he becomes a part of a burlesque show.
The club where Cal works is raided by police, and he is returned to Chapter Eleven's custody. After learning that Milton had just been killed in a car accident, Cal returns to his family's home in Middlesex and stands in the doorway (a male-only Greek tradition thought to keep spirits of the dead out of the family home) as Milton's funeral takes place. Desdemona sees Cal as male for the first time, and in a moment of anagnorisis, she confesses to Cal that her husband, Lefty, was also her brother. Later, as an adult, Cal becomes a diplomat and is stationed in Berlin, where he meets Julie Kikuchi, a Japanese-American woman with whom he tentatively starts a relationship.
Sounds pretty darn interesting! Have any of you read Middlesex? What did you think?
So I think I'm ready to tell you about my new fun vlog series. So I know I have stated that I really wanted to stretch out my ears. Well, I'm finally taking the plunge and bought some gauges today. I'm going to do a few vlogs on it...how to take care of your ears, faq's, so on. I'm also planning on making products from my shop to take care of stretched ears. I'm so excited and I couldn't hold it in any longer. Expect the first vlog sometime next week <3 xo.