September 6, 2014
"Middlesex" was first published in 2002, and soon after won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The book is very well written and easy to read. It talks about three generations of the Stephanides family, beginning in Greece and ends in the present day in Michigan. This book is an immigration story that is bold and drifts away from being particularly normal. "Middlesex" is told by Cal Stephanides, who was raised as a girl, named Calliope. Later on in life, wishes to be known as a boy. He discovers that he is in intersex with his body chemistry moving more into a boy. “I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974” (Eugenides). The choice of narrator indicates very early in the book the breadth and ambition of Eugenides' narrative. As the book goes on, it becomes clear that the author is not just focusing on the narrator’s identity. He also talks about the cultural context the narrator and his family belongs in. The book begins as American life in Detroit, as the narrative follows the journey of Cal's grandparents from Greece to America and from there into a standard American life. However, portraying everything from the days of the American automobile industry to the race riots of 1967, the author, Eugenides’, avoids stereotypes and acquiescence. “Historical fact: People stopped being people in 1913. That was the year Henry Ford put his cars on rollers and made his workers adopt the speed of the assembly line. At first, workers rebelled. They quit in droves, unable to accustom their bodies to the new pace of the age. Since then, however, the adaptation has been passed down: we've all inherited it to some degree, so that we plug right into joy-sticks and remotes, to repetitive motions of a hundred kinds” (Eugenides). Throughout the story, the...
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