Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides


Publisher: Bloomsbury

Length: 529 pages

About: Hermaphrodite coming of age story

Style: 1st & 3rd person

Where: US & Greece

When: 1920-2000



Publisher’s synopsis:

The novel starts with a narration by its protagonist, Cal (his masculine identity), also known as Calliope (feminine): He recounts how 5-alpha-reductase deficiency, a recessive condition, causes him to be born with female characteristics. The book continues with accounts of his family's history, starting with his paternal grandparents in their home village and ending with his father's funeral.



I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license...records my first name simply as Cal.





Every so rarely often, I read a novel that deserves the accolade of 'tour de force'. Jeffrey Eugenides's new book Middlesex is such a novel, managing to be both immense in its human scope and moving and funny in its human detail. Lifechanging is a rather alarming way to describe a book, but I suspect this one is just that.

The Daily Mail, Joanna Trollope 6th December 2002


Not so good:

This is not to say that Eugenides doesn't occasionally falter in telling her story, especially with his unsubtle efforts to evoke Greek myth by having Calliope play the sexually ambiguous prophet Tiresias in a school play and then portray the mythical Hermaphroditus in a seedy sex show. But these are rare missteps in a warm and beautifully written novel that illuminates the part of the human soul that even biology cannot reach.  

The Sunday Times, Stephen Amidon, 6th October 2002


About the author

Eugenides was born March 8th 1960 in Detroit, Michigan, of Greek and Irish descent. He attended Grosse Pointe's private University Liggett School. He took his undergraduate degree at Brown University, graduating in 1983. He later earned an M.A. in Creative Writing from Stanford University. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with his wife, Karen Yamauchi, and their daughter, Georgia. In the fall of 2007, Eugenides joined the faculty of Princeton University's Program in Creative Writing.


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2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

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