Length: 529 pages
About: Hermaphrodite coming of age story
Style: 1st & 3rd person
Where: US & Greece
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
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.