Read The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides Free Online
Book Title: The Virgin Suicides|
The author of the book: Jeffrey Eugenides
Edition: Picador Modern Classics
Date of issue: November 3rd 2015
Loaded: 2537 times
Reader ratings: 3.6
ISBN 13: 9781250074812
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 7.76 MB
City - Country: No data
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suicide isn't the happiest of topics. the suicides of five sisters is even less pleasant. how do you recommend a book to someone on such a grim topic? easy: just read it.
what eugenides does so well is capture the mystery of secluded sisters, as seen through the eyes of neighborhood boys. this is important in reading the novel. it's not necessarily the lisbon sisters' story, but rather the boys' story, and how the suicides affected them all the way into adulthood (the boys are now men and they retell their story). they've never fully recovered from the events of that year, as evidenced by the carefully catalogued and numbered evidence they've collected over the years (faded photographs, scraps of paper, newspaper clippings, etc). it's as though their growth and development from boys to men has been permanently stunted, and it's something of a tragedy to read. euginedes' use of a vague narrator allows the reader to actively participate in the mystery and confusion as the boys try to come to terms with the deaths. the narrator(s) alway refer to themselves as "we," and never "i," drawing the reader in with them. we don't know who's speaking. it could be any of 10-12 boys. it's a particularly useful way of letting the reader experience the same gamut of emotions as the boys. by the end of the book i was every bit affected the same way the boys were and are.
beyond the subject of suicide, there's also some very insightful social commentary on how death (particularly suicides) affect not only specific individuals, but communities as well. the narrator(s), for example, notice how all the leaves went unraked during the fall after the first four sisters kill themselves. there's also mention about a day of mourning and an assembly at school, and one boy comments how he felt like they were supposed to feel badly for everything that ever happened...ever. how do adults explain suicide to children? eugenides expertly taps into what it's like to try to grapple with and understand something completely beyond understanding. how do we process suicide and death? can we? should we? i don't think it's beyond reason to make comparisons to 'hamlet' or other literature where 'ghosts' figure prominently. for all intents and purposes, these men are still boys under the spell of five ghosts. it's a thought-provoking novel and one that stays with the reader well after closing its pages, just as the lisbon sisters still haunt the memory of the neighborhood boys.
perhaps the most impressive aspect of the novel is the prose itself. mr. eugenides can write. my copy of the book is nearly worn out from all the markings i've made. there are passages that made me jump off my bed and shout at the sky. his prose is as shiny as a newly minted coin. it's as though every word were precisely chosen, every sentence carefully constructed (and i imagine they were). the novel reminds the reader of the printed word's power. i don't know how much eugenides got for his soul (for surely there was *some* sort of bargain with the devil), but i hope it was a hefty sum.
unfortunately quality literature seems to be in short supply these days. however, i think it's safe to say that after two books jeffrey eugenides has joined a gradually declining crop of truly great, living, american authors (roth, delillo, morrison, updike, among a few others) and is well on his way to an illustrious, prolific, literary career.
this is one of the few books i read more than once. each time i read it i hope to glean some insight into the 'why' of suicide, yet knowning it will never be so. so i'll just keep reading it over and over and try to understand, just as the boys continue to congregate, go over the evidence, seek closure and try to become men.
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Read information about the authorJeffrey Kent Eugenides is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer of Greek and Irish extraction.
Eugenides was born in Detroit, Michigan, of Greek and Irish descent. He attended Grosse Pointe's private University Liggett School. He took his undergraduate degree at Brown University, graduating in 1983. He later earned an M.A. in Creative Writing from Stanford University.
In 1986 he received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship for his story "Here Comes Winston, Full of the Holy Spirit". His 1993 novel, The Virgin Suicides, gained mainstream interest with the 1999 film adaptation directed by Sofia Coppola. The novel was reissued in 2009.
Eugenides is reluctant to appear in public or disclose details about his private life, except through Michigan-area book signings in which he details the influence of Detroit and his high-school experiences on his writings. He has said that he has been haunted by the decline of Detroit.
Jeffrey Eugenides lives in Princeton, New Jersey with his wife, the photographer and sculptor Karen Yamauchi, and their daughter. In the fall of 2007, Eugenides joined the faculty of Princeton University's Program in Creative Writing.
His 2002 novel, Middlesex, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Ambassador Book Award. Part of it was set in Berlin, Germany, where Eugenides lived from 1999 to 2004, but it was chiefly concerned with the Greek-American immigrant experience in the United States, against the rise and fall of Detroit. It explores the experience of the intersexed in the USA. Eugenides has also published short stories.
Eugenides is the editor of the collection of short stories titled My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead. The proceeds of the collection go to the writing center 826 Chicago, established to encourage young people's writing.
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