I am not under the impression it happens very often: author writes a really great first novel and then follows it up with a bloody brilliant second novel. But there it is.
The Virgin Suicides was sort of a mystery/coming of age novel with a twist. Middlesex is a modern American epic. You may have heard of it – the novel with the hermaphrodite. But it is also ask the question, “where did I come from?” So we have the grandparent’s immigrant story and so on through the decades. I remember thinking near the beginning that it was really two different novels. The immigrant experience and the story of a little girl growing into a young man. Somehow Eugenides ties it together in a way that works.
There is some historical stuff in there to add flavor and context: war in Turkey leading to emigration, riots in Detroit. I found it interesting that the narrator, Cal, observed the racism of her family but doesn’t seem to be bothered by the old world ethnicity of her family. This really tells me that I had too much fun with My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Anyway, it was awesome. And a final note on the audio book: it was read by Kristoffer Tabori, who absolutely rocked the voices and accents.