Woohoo. Another book finished. Forget about the fact that I still have a bunch of books at home, half-read. Here is a book I finished in a couple of days. Hooray.
I liked this book. The concept was fresh - think about it. Not just a story about a hermaphrodite, but a GREEK hermaphrodite! A whole family saga in fact. That alone made for an interesting premise that made you want to get through the whole thing, even if at times, I had to work through certain passages.
Things of note:
Eugenides writes like he's seeing a movie. His scenes pan, zoom in, pull out, create montage sequences, slow down, speed up. You get this feeling that he'd almost like to be a movie director instead of a writer, the way some of his scenes play out. The specific passages that especially drove this home are escaping me right now, but he's definitely a very visual writer, in pacing and in description.
It's interesting the POV choices he makes. He chooses a first person, but the first person narrator chooses to take a very omniscient POV when writing his memoirs of his family. I remember thinking at one point in the beginning, wow, this omniscient narrator is really well-done, and I haven't seen an omniscient employed in such a way in recent years. Only to remember that it wasn't true omniscience. Interesting. It's one of those things where I think part of me gets a little naggy about it, and the sensible side of me wants to be like, "Well, how could he KNOW those things, that doesn't make sense" but uh, he won the Pulitzer, so obviously I know very little. Goes to show you that there is such thing as creative liberty. So why in the hell not.
Sometimes I felt a disjointedness between the adult male narrator and the teenage girl that he was. I found myself disbelieving that someone who grew up all their life trying desperately to be a girl would so easily capitulate and become a boy. That was my one bone of contention. I didn't completely believe the outcome.
But it was well-written, entertaining, and really portrayed this family, from immigration to the whole American experience, very well. It never dragged for me, although there were a few moments where it was in trouble of possibly doing so, it sort of avoided it in the nick of time. I really enjoyed it, if I didn't necessarily love it. Worth the read. Clever title, too.