Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Review: Middlesex

Middlesex Book Cover

Middlesex
By Jeffrey Eugenides
Picador
2002
544pp

The Short of It:

Middlesex is smartly written, richly layered and brilliant.

The Rest of It:

I raise one fist (male typically) and begin to beat on the walls of my eggshell until it cracks. Then, slippery as yolk, I dive headfirst into the world” (211).

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides is about Cal Stephanides. Cal is a hermaphrodite and it’s through his narration that we learn about 5-alpha-reductase deficiency and how it affected his development. Cal begins his story in the present day and then takes us back to the beginning, where his grandparents, Lefty and Desdemona make a decision that will forever change his life.

I hesitate to go into too much detail as there is so much to be discovered in this book, and those discoveries should be made by you, at your own pace. What I can say, is that Middlesex blew me away. It’s a complex, meaty type of read but the best kind of read…one told with humor and a definite voice.

It’s epic in scope but remarkably readable. The themes of identity, re-birth, transformation, race relations and nature vs. nurture are balanced out with humor and characters that breathe the same air we do. These themes speak to everyone, which is probably why Middlesex won the Pulitzer for fiction in 2003.

I read this novel for my Contemporary Lit class and it was well-received by everyone. Even the non-readers in the class had something to say about this book and although I finished it weeks ago, I am still re-reading passages. It’s definitely one of my faves for 2010.

If this novel escaped your radar when it first came out, I urge you to pick it up now.

Source: Purchased for my Contemporary Lit class.

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Literary Fiction: Does it Rock Your World?

It rocks mine.

Literary Fiction, as defined by Wikipedia:

Literary fiction is a term that has come into common usage since around 1960, principally to distinguish serious fiction (that is, work with claims to literary merit) from the many types of genre fiction and popular fiction (i.e., paraliterature). In broad terms, literary fiction focuses more on style, psychological depth, and character[1][2], the plot may or may not be important. Mainstream commercial fiction focuses more on narrative and plot.

I read other genres, but the one that I go back to again and again, is Literary Fiction. So, it’s no surprise that Wallace from Unputdownables contacted me about being a Literary Fiction judge for the Indie Lit Awards (her baby). I, along with Lyndsey, have been tasked with putting the Lit Fiction panel together. We are almost there too. As soon as we have the final panel, I will post an update. Oh, and if any of the panel members happen to be reading this, your panel button is coming soon!

Lit Fiction Judge Button

Here’s a bit of info about the awards:

Independent Literary Awards are given to books that have been recommended and voted on by independent literary bloggers. Nominations are open to independent literary bloggers only, and are then voted upon by a panel of bloggers who are proficient in the genre they represent. Each panel is led by a judge(s) who oversee(s) the integrity of the process.

Since Lyndsey and I represent the Literary Fiction category, we’d be interested in your thoughts on what Literary Fiction book, published in 2010, tickled your fancy. If you’re a literary blogger and would like to submit a book for consideration right now, because you know with all your heart that the book you just read is THE book of the year, then we’d like to hear from you!

Things to remember when you nominate a book:

-You must be a literary blogger; and a link to your blog must be provided so we can verify this. (You may not be the author, publisher, or publicist of the book you are nominating).

-You may nominate a book that has already been listed (the books with the most nominations will be what we add to the Long List).

-You may nominate books in more than one genre, but only one per genre and please make one of those genres Literary Fiction (gotta plug the category).

-Nominations are open until mid-December.

Lit Fic Nomination Button

But, if you’d rather wait a few months to see if a better title awaits you, then that’s fine too. Just bookmark the site and I’ll remind you about it as the end of the year approaches.

At the end of the year, we’ll have a nice list of titles to choose from and then early next year… a winner!

If you’d like to promote the event on your own blog, please use this button:

Indie Lit Award

It will be hard to determine one winner, but I can’t wait to see what makes the short list.