I’ve been reading a lot of Harlan Coben lately (great thriller writer if you’re ever looking for books in that genre) and finally decided to take a break from thrillers. My friend recommended I read Middlesex and thought I would really enjoy it. She was right. It’s a bit of a slow-moving novel, but it’s so interesting that I never felt bored or like I needed to put the book aside at any point.
Middlesex is told from the perspective of Calliope Stephanides, a child born to first generation Greek-American parents. What’s really interesting about the narrator (Callie) is that she’s not present throughout the entire novel. In fact, you can divide the novel into four completely separate, yet entwined narratives beginning in 1922 and ending in 1975.
First, we have bits and pieces of Cal’s story at the start of every chapter. He is a 41-year-old man living in Germany going out on a date with a woman named Julie who he’s not sure he’ll see again.
Next, we have the story that starts the entire novel: Desdemona and Lefty — a brother and sister who also happen to be third cousins, living in Greece. Their story follows their journey from Greece to America in the early 20s.
Then, we have the story of Tessie and Milton, teenagers and first cousins who fall in love while Milton serves his country in the navy.
Lastly, there’s Callie’s story. From birth to the age of fourteen, Callie is raised by her parents Tessie and Milton in Detroit. Callie feels and looks different from other girls her age, but she’s not sure why. Middlesex explores exactly why Callie is different from other girls her age. The short answer: a chromosome defect caused by inbreeding in her family.
I was recently at my local library looking for more books to read and saw a list of recommended reads for men. Middlesex was one of the books on the list and interestingly enough, I didn’t see it on a list recommended for women. I’m not sure why this novel would be recommended only for men. In my opinion, everyone should read it.
Middlesex explores gender, sex, sexuality, and society’s and history’s impact on all three. I recommend this novel to anyone looking for a great and interesting read.
As always, happy reading! 🙂