Middlesex (2002) by Jeffrey Eugenides
Ok, so I had said previously that my first order of business was to read Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, but that plan was foiled for a number of boring reasons that I won't go into right now. Suffice it to say that I'm getting to it.
I'm sure many of you have already read this, and you're wondering what took me so long. Well, you know, dissertation, blah blah blah, stuck in the 19th century, etc. etc. Let me just say BOY AM I GLAD I READ THIS. I mean, HOT DAMN. (I guess I now know why this book won a Pulitzer).
Eugenides does a masterful job telling the story of Calliope Stephanides, a hermaphrodite, in her/his own voice, developing it against the backdrop of Smyrna, war, immigration, incest, and American assimilationism. Reading this book was like riding on a very curvy roller-coaster, since at times it raises you high above the earth to glimpse a large swath of history and then swoops you down, close to the ground, with detailed musings on love, desire, and identity.
I recently bought The Marriage Plot, Eugenides's latest novel, and am chomping at the bit to read it.
Up next: White Teeth by Zadie Smith!