If you’re like me, Middlesex blew your mind. Here was a book chock-full of wildly different themes, all of them improbably interconnected: incest, genocide, Detroit, the Nation of Islam and hermaphrodites, to name but a few.
It was a novel that did a lot, almost too much and which took its author, Jeffrey Eugenidies ten years to write.
Readers loved it and the critics loved it too.
It had all the too-muchness of Bellow’s Augie March crossed with the humor of Salinger, Roth and Nathaniel West. It had characters with abstract names like Chapter 11 and The Obscure Object and best of all it climaxed, sort of, in San Francisco, the original city of Too Much.
It was a cultural and gender-fluid hybrid and quite inspiring to a young writer who didn’t want to write another book about dysfunctional families gathering for Christmas.
Having not looked at it in over six years, I’m curious how it’s aged. I’ve heard from some people that Eugenides did a disservice to the intersex community by not doing enough research. Besides that, some people claim that the book’s events are too far-fetched and ridiculous.
In any case, Eugenides has taken his sweet time writing another novel, nearly eight years to be exact.
At the F.S.G. offices, Jonathan Galassi talks to him about his heavily-anticipated new book.