Book 15 – MIddlesex

“So do boys and men announce their intentions.  They cover you like a sarcophagus lid. And call it love.”

Literally, and emotionally, I would say.

First off, it’s very awkward to try and explain in person the plot of Middlesex, hopefully the anonymity of the internet will make this easier.

It’s about a hermaphrodite (who identifies himself as Cal, so too shall we) tracing the history of his family, himself and the gene which created the genetic complication.  As part of this we are taken from a small Greek village in Turkey to Prohibition era Detroit.

Okay, that went better then I thought it would.  Mostly because I can’t see the blank stares at the computer screens saying “Why the hell would you read that?”

The author, Jeffrey Eugenides, is also a Greek from Detroit and his family name echoes the name he’s given the family of his story (Stephanides). I would love to know where the truth and fiction separates itself, I don’t think that Eugenides is hermaphroditic, but the idea of write what you know seems very much at place in his work.  This isn’t a criticism, if he wrote what he knew, he knew it well and was able to convince me that he knew exactly what it felt to be Cal.

There is criticism about male’s writing female characters and that there is something dishonest about it.  You end up only with what that male thinks about females than what females may think.  This is actually why a man is perfect to write this kind of story, the whole thing really is a male living in a female’s skin.

The story of the family coming over from Greece is harrowing, the courtship of cousin’s in the next generation doesn’t seem forced (I can’t say the same about the marriage of brother and sister in the previous generation), but it is in the section when Cal goes out on his own that book finds a core for me.  Every male has to worry about growing up to be a man, we aren’t hindered by having lived fourteen years as a girl, but our manhood is shaped by our father’s and God help the feelings of those who don’t fit the mold their father set aside for them.

It’s not my feeling that it is any harder becoming the man you are supposed to be than it is for a woman, but that is outside of my experience and I thought a blog was for my experience?

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