The Virgin Suicides
10 journalers for this copy...
Eugenides's tantalizing, macabre first novel begins with a suicide, the first of the five bizarre deaths of the teenage daughters in the Lisbon family; the rest of the work, set in the author's native Michigan in the early 1970s, is a backward-looking quest as the male narrator and his nosy, horny pals describe how they strove to understand the odd clan of this first chapter, which appeared in the Paris Review , where it won the 1991 Aga Khan Prize for fiction. The sensationalism of the subject matter (based loosely on a factual account) may be off-putting to some readers, but Eugenides's voice is so fresh and compelling, his powers of observation so startling and acute, that most will be mesmerized. The title derives from a song by the fictional rock band Cruel Crux, a favorite of the Lisbon daughter Lux--who, unlike her sisters Therese, Mary, Bonnie and Cecilia, is anything but a virgin by the tale's end. Her mother forces Lux to burn the album along with others she considers dangerously provocative. Mr. Lisbon, a mild-mannered high school math teacher, is driven to resign by parents who believe his control of their children may be as deficient as his control of his own brood. Eugenides risks sounding sophomoric in his attempt to convey the immaturity of high-school boys; while initially somewhat discomfiting, the narrator's voice (representing the collective memories of the group) acquires the ring of authenticity. The author is equally convincing when he describes the older locals' reactions to the suicide attempts. Under the narrator's goofy, posturing banter are some hard truths: mortality is a fact of life; teenage girls are more attracted to brawn than to brains (contrary to the testimony of the narrator's male relatives). This is an auspicious debut from an imaginative and talented writer. Literary Guild selection.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc
Really enjoyed Middlesex, so looking forward to reading this.
An uncomfortable but engrossing read, lightened with some black humour.
Hi, I've copied these GUIDELINES from Daemonwolf, they seem sensible!
1) Everybody should leave a journal entry when receiving the book and after the read! Please let us all know what you think about it...
2) Also PM the next person on the list for a mailing address and when that person doesn't answer within 7 days MAX! please PM the one after...
3) Everybody should also try to read the book soon (max - one MONTH?)- but in a joyful speed. It's not about how many books someone can read within a certain amount of time - it's about enjoying it...
4) You can send the book via surface mail or airmail - that is completely up to you.
5) If you find you don't have the time to read it when it's your turn please PM and I'll move you to a later slot.
Book will be sent out in following order. PLEASE READ THE GUIDELINES!
PARTICIPANTS (updated 21/6/07)
safrolistics UK :
LisB France<-- no response to PMs
ray now ended.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Found this tough going, have emailed next on list for address.
Posted to JudeK. Enjoy:-)
As soon as I get bluecat07´s address I will send the book to her.
8.7.07: The others are right. This book is disturbing. Especially with the language and the narrator's point of view - it is so easy to read but you know that the suicides will take place. I couldn't understand how everybody just watched the family getting more and more isolated and nobody doing anything. But I guess that is realistic. Happens all the time. This was an interesting read, thanks, Triggerfish!
I loved the part in which the narrator describes the effect of Cecilia's diary on the boys. Favourite quote: "We could never understand why the girls cared so much about being mature, or why they felt so compelled to compliment each other, but sometimes, after one of us had read a long portion of the diary out loud, we had to fight back the urge to hug one another or to tell each other how pretty we were. We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colours went together.". Brilliant!
As a side note, I truly enjoyed the character of Old Mrs. Karafilis, a budding Desdemona who then fully blooms in "Middlesex". Ten years went by between "Virgin suicides" and "Middlesex", I hope we won't have to wait that long for the next release - although, if the results are so good, well then I'll wait :)
Thanks a lot Triggerfish for sending this book around, and for allowing me to keep it so long. It's now on its way to Greece (mailed yesterday Sept 28).
Eugenides has an astounding way of describing people and situations and his metaphors are terrific, but for me the content of this story just didn't make the grade.
The narrator (or narrators? always the "we"...) remain/s in some ways elusive and in some ways so clearly the gawky, pimply gang of not so cool boys - and yet something about that elusiveness felt a bit contrived.
The girls are so realistic - but so much so, seen with such graphic reality, that it seems strange they should be such objects of fantasy with the scumminess of their bath water and the other grungy details the narrator lovingly fingers like so many rosary beads.
Fortunately the issue of suicide remains relatively remote to me and I felt quite detached from this whole incident. I suspect I would have related more to one suicide, but because it is multiple it seems somehow grotesque . Was it based on a true story?
I still appreciate Eugenides for his ability to conjure up crystal clear images, but far prefer Middlesex to this novel. I am delighted to have been able to read it, however, so thank you so much for making it available. I've PMed for the next address and hope to send it on soon.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Finally got my act together and now this book is on its way from Switzerland to Germany. Thanks so much!
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Since the next bookcrosser on the list is not responding, Triggerfish agrees to stop this ray here and I am passing it on to someone else.
The Book visits Berlin.