This was a tough category, because it is difficult for me to say I have a favorite author. Ironically, Eugenides has only published three novels, and of them, I’ve only read this one. I loved this book so much though, that I’m feeling confident that when I get around to reading The Virgin Suicides and The Marriage Plot, I’m going to enjoy them.
As a pretty big reader and an English teacher, it is weirdly difficult for me to find books, outside of classics or things I read in college, that strike me, on their own, as good literature. Middlesex was the first novel that did this since The Brothers K (read about seven years earlier). Aside from the obvious controversial plot, this is a book that I would love to teach to the right class one day, if I thought I could get away with it. Essentially, it is about a hermaphrodite named Cal, who is raised as a girl, but comes to realize at about fifteen that he’s probably a boy. Cal’s story is interwoven with the complete stories of his parents and grandparents. This book contains a complex plot that mixes (some ancient) Greek culture and humor with a modern-day medical phenomenon as well as the resulting cultural and identity issues. It was the first book in a long time that I could not stop talking about while reading it and for weeks afterward. (Thank goodness I was teaching public school at the time. I cannot imagine how the administrative sit-down would have gone if this book was my main topic of interest the year I taught in a private Christian school. Actually. I can imagine it. Let me just say thank goodness, again.)