2RC2012: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

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Re: 2RC2012: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Postby Baker » 20 Apr 2012, 07:17

About a third the way through and it's feeling a bit flabby and aimless. The forward momentum has slowed to a crawl and the switching between the narrator posing as a pre-born, the past, and the present is now feeling contrived.
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Re: 2RC2012: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Postby wildlx » 20 Apr 2012, 10:06

I'm now moving forward and I am finding it more interesting. Two things were a bit shocking for me. The first was the description of the choice of emigrants on Ellis island which made it seem almost like the choices of prisoners at concentration camps. The second was the degree of control on the private life of factory workers. The visit by the men from the Ford sociological department seemed almost like a visit of a political police :no:.
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Re: 2RC2012: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Postby Nurse Jo » 22 Apr 2012, 04:40

How funny that Baker thoguht it started off in quite a promising manner but then began to flag a little, yet Wildlx thought it was a weak beginning but becoming more interesting! this just shows that people that get their knickers in a twist about book reviews are silly as reviews are so subjective.

I dare not read this book until after Sue, she would not be amused.
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Re: 2RC2012: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Postby FranW » 22 Apr 2012, 08:18

I had to agree with Baker that the middle bit, about him being born and growing up, seemed a bit out of place; the beginning was about how the incest began, and the end was about the result being him the hermaphrodite, but the middle seemed more about the life of an immigrant Greek family in Detroit regardless of the kid's sex. I found it interesting because I'm from the Detroit area, and my parents grew up in Detroit (my mother tells me that Indian Village is now a gated community of mansions with its own security guards). But I can see that for some readers this might have little appeal.
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Re: 2RC2012: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Postby Baker » 22 Apr 2012, 08:50

Jo: exactly.

Wild: Yeah, that whole Ford factory control was gobsmacking. (I did wonder if anyone had considered installing suicide netting at the factory.) Like you, I was also stunned by the Ellis Island scene. I wonder how authentic it was: it sounds so barbaric.

I haven't read much further, partly because my motiviation to read this book has been undermined by the way the story seems to have ground to a halt. I can understand why, in this story, the history of the narrator's grandparents is essential, and that of hir parents getting together, but once Cal is born, the books seems to be simply a family biography with no particular emphasis on Callie's unusual biology. Once Callie is a self-aware child, too, I'm finding the pretence of being privy to every other character's interior life jarring. I don't have Fran's interest in daily life in Detroit in the 60's and 70's, so I'm struggling to find a reason to keep reading.
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Re: 2RC2012: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Postby wildlx » 22 Apr 2012, 10:50

I'm a little behind you Baker so, probably, I am still at the part that you still found interesting. So, apparently, I will get stuck again soon...

Regarding the Ellis island scene I was also curious and I am going to try to find stuff about it.
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Re: 2RC2012: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Postby Proofrdr » 22 Apr 2012, 11:34

Ellis Island was hell for many immigrants. There were so many coming in at once and some immigration officials enjoyed wielding the power they had. My paternal grandparents came in through Ellis Island around the turn of the 20th century.
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Re: 2RC2012: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Postby Lt Sue » 01 May 2012, 01:33

I'm quite enjoying the book. I'm now on page 400. I liked the beginning, thought the middle dragged but now the "true" sex of Cal has been revealed I can hardly put it down! I'm a bit frustrated at the amount of "background" info regarding Detroit, groups within girl's schools etc but I'm skipping those bits lol

Good pick. Will post more once I've finished it.
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Re: 2RC2012: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Postby wildlx » 01 May 2012, 02:46

400! I'm still at around page 100 :blush: I haven't had the time to read. Skipping is cheating ;-).
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Re: 2RC2012: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Postby Baker » 01 May 2012, 08:19

I just started Book 4 last night. So, Cal has been taken to meet Dr Luce. Which means I'm way ahead of Wild, but still have about a quarter of the book to go.

Is anyone else having problems with how Cal the girl is portrayed? I don't mean the bits at the girls' school Sue finds so boring. Cal is reared as a girl, and we're supposed to be seeing her as a 'normal' girl until puberty rears its ugly head.
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