Sunday, December 2, 2012


Jeffrey Eugenides' novel, Middlesex, has me perpetually wrapped up in its pages and as each chapter unfolds I become more absorbed and anxious of reaching the inevitable end. I don't want it to end, I love this book.  

Eugenides' uses the gender paradox to explore themes of societal alienation, the battle of free-will versus conformity and, ultimately, the strength of the human spirit. He covers today's common affliction known as the fear of intimacy extremely well. The lead character's disconnected relationship with Julie Kikuchi, which pops up throughout the book, will feel very familiar to the many lovelorn people of the 21st century. A line that really hits home for many is one of my favorites; "I never know what to feel until it's too late."

Here's a passage that occurs during the lead-up to the story's catharsis. I was almost reduced to tears in the middle of the subway car on my commute to work reading this. The "Obscure Object" is referring to the girl who is the subject of our protagonist's affections. Again, the fear of intimacy is inferred due to the fact that this important character doesn't even have a name and is simply referred to as "obscure."

The stretcher was wheeled down the corridor and my arm stretched out towards the Object. I had already left on my voyage. I was sailing across the sea to another country. Now my arm was twenty feet long, thirty, forty, fifty. I lifted my head from the stretcher to gaze at the Object. To gaze at the Obscure Object. For once more she was becoming a mystery to me. What ever happened to her? Where is she now? She stood at the end of the hall, holding my unraveling arm. She looked cold, skinny, out of place, lost. It was almost as if she knew we would never see each other again. The stretcher was picking up speed. My arm was only a thin ribbon now, curling through the air. Finally the inevitable moment came. The Object let go. My hand flew up, free, empty.

No comments: