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"Life isn't divided into genres. It's a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel."

Monday, November 24, 2008


This is the story of Calliope Stephanides who becomes Cal Stephanides in her early teens. Callie is a hermaphrodite. Due to untold centuries of inbreeding, Callie is the physical outcome of this traditional Greek-American family's...shall we say, unusual inclinations. Eugenides begins the story in Greece, and traces the family's legacy to Detroit where Callie is born...and born again.

I read this book about 5 years ago and fell in love. This is my second time through and I am just as moved. Eugenides writes with a grace that I find lacking in many contemporary authors. He embodies a touch of Dickens and Thackeray, while maintaining the entirely modern essence of his story. One can hardly ever imagine the life of a hermaphrodite but JE manages to convey the painful truths that Cal/Callie must face. Some may call this story depressing but I have never felt more satisfied when coming to the conclusion of this book. In my opinion, this is a genuinely well-written book and I can't think of a thing I'd change.

Well okay, except for one thing. What is Chapter Eleven's real name..??

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