8 journalers for this copy...
participants so far:
1. Toadee (UK)
2. gill846 (Canada)
3. PButtercup (Canada)
4. senorag (USA)
5. Axelp (Netherlands)
6. Zoe1971 (Germany)
7. Valmue (Germany)
8. Skyrider (UK)
9. back to me...
Citrus, thank you so much for sharing and I hope that when this excellent book makes its way back to you, you will have the time to dive into it!
7.29.04 Well, I gave it my best try. It was interesting, but just too slow moving. I could not stay with it. I jumped to the end to see what happened. Thanks for giving me a chance to try it. I will PM . Axelp for the address and keep it moving.
Moving right along to the Netherlands. Enjoy
Liked it a lot. A good read, and interesting angle of US immigrant
story. Now off to the next in line. Thanks for sharing!
Some friends of mine told me only the best about Jeffrey Eugenides after they read "The Virgin Suicides" or "Middlesex". They really made me curious about this author. I hope I'll get to reading this novel real soon and tell you about my impressions about Jeffrey Eugenides (did you know he lives in Berlin?).
Once again, thank you very much, citrus for starting this bookring and to Axelp for passing it on! Let's stay friends!
This novel contains everything: comedy and tragedy, the story of (at least)three generations and their traditions and values, the feelings and emotions of girls, boys and intersexuals, serious theatre and peephow business, Asia Minor, the US and "Old Europe" ;-)
Jeffrey Eugenides actually is a great writer.
Here are some of my favourite passages:
The descriptions of how Cal's grandparents arrived after their oddyssey from Asia Minor to NY and what his yia yia felt: "But there was another reason for my grandmother's unhappiness. She opened the silkworm box in her lap. Inside were her two braids, still tied with the ribbons of mourning, but otherwise the box was empty. After carrying her silkworm eggs all the way from Bithynios, Desdemona had been forced to dump them out at Ellis Island. Silkworm eggs appeared on a list of parasites." I can't tell exactly why this reminds me of the current discussion about biometric data and entering the USA.
Or how you can help yourself in a country if you don't speak the language: "When she recognizes Gratiot's diagonal swath, she stood up and called out in a ringing voice: 'Sonnamabiche!' She had no idea what this English word meant. She had heard Sourmelina employ it whenever she missed her stop. As usual, it worked. The driver braked the streetcar and the passengers moved quickly aside to let her off. They seemed surprised when she smiled and thanked them."
"It turned out that when it finally happened, the revolution was'nt televised." (Didn't Gil Scott-Heron do a song about the revolution that wasn't televised??)
And two passages about my hobbies: literature and eating...
1. "But maybe the Charm Bracelets understood more about life than I did. From an early age they knew what little value the world placed in books, and so didn't waste their time with them. Whereas I, even now, persist in believing that these black marks on white paper bear the greatest significance, that if I keep writing I must be able to catch the rainbow of consciousness in a jar." (and he does!)
2. "The doctor's name was Müller. German by blood, he renounced his race when it came to cooking. With postwar guilt, he decried bratwurst, sauerbraten and Königsberger Klopse as dishes verging on poison. They were the Hitler of foods. Instead he looked to our own Greek diet - our eggplant aswim in tomato sauce, our cucumber dressings and fish-egg spreads, our pilafi, raisins, and figs - as potential curatives , as life-giving, artery cleansing, skin-smoothing wonder drugs." Are you as hungry as I am???????
I would love to write down even more about this book, but I can't now - I think I have to visit the Greek restaurant round the corner and do something to clean my arteries... ;-))
Since Valmue won't accept any bookrings at the moment, the book will be forwarded to Skyrider as soon as I got the address...
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
The book is on its way to skyrider, Cambridge, UK.
I've got one other book to finish first, but this is next in line....
It's not a book that will appeal to someone looking for a good story — the plot is minimal — but the character study is meticulously observed and the prose lyrical and beautiful.
I should be getting this book back to citrus, but I may well get it out of the library. I'd be intrigued to re-read the Smyrna and boat portion with the foreknowledge of how things work out.
The photo shows Charles Darwin's house in the background — somehow this seemed appropriate for a book centred on genetic inheritance.... ;-)
hope you all enjoyed the book, best wishes, k.