Middlesex. By Jeffrey Eugenides
I just finished reading Middlesex, a Pulitzer Prize-winning and Oprah Book Club Listed novel. At 500+ pages, the read was enjoyable, but I found myself feeling disappointed with the ending.
The novel is essentially two stories, one of a Greek immigrant family living in Detroit, and the other of Cal, born Calliope, the intersexed narrator who is raised as a female and then chooses to live as a male.
Some aspects of the plot were far-fetched, but richly imagined, namely the manner in which Cal’s father Milton dies. The section detailing Calliope’s summer love affair with her best fried, “The Obscure Object”, felt authentic for its adolescent melodrama.
As pointed out in the review by Daniel Mendelsohn in New York Review of Books, and I’d have to agree, the disappointment with the novel is its rejection of its own title. Instead of being a novel about the middle ground ambiguity of gender and sexuality, it seems to out rightly reject notions of bisexuality. Callie’s understanding of her feelings of attraction to her female friend, is that she “is a boy”, when she is not yet fully aware of her genetic characteristics.