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Southwest Book Club Online Discussion Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

middlesex.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 7:00 P.M. at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Middlesex by bestselling author Jeffrey Eugenides. Middlesex is a story of Calliope Stephanides, who discovers during adolescence that she is actually a he. The now adult male, Cal tells of his transformation and of the genetic condition which caused it - a condition which is traced back to his Greek-American paternal grandparents who were also brother and sister. Middlesex is a story about what it means to live within the complex and unnamed middle ground between male and female, Greek and American, past and present. Lastly, Middlesex is a novel that questions what it is that makes us who we are.

If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, questions related to the book are posted below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Share your thoughts and comments, then click "post". Comment on one question or all of them. Join the discussion!

Discussion Questions: Middlesex
1. Occasionally, Cal interrupts his own narrative, calling attention to himself and the artifice inherent in his story (example on pp. 110-111). What purposes do these interruptions serve? Is Cal a reliable narrator?

2. Why does Cal decide to live as a man rather than a woman?

3. How is Cal's experience living within two genders similar to the immigrant experience of living within two cultures? How is it different?

4. Middlesex is set against the backdrop of several historical events: the war between Turkey and Greece, the rise of the Nation of Islam, WWII, and the Detroit riots. How does history shape the lives of the caracters in the novel?

5. Describe Middlesex. Does the house have a symbolic function in the novel?

6. How does the structure of the novel and its movement backward and forward in time reflect the larger themes of the work?

Questions obtained or adapted from http://readinggroupguides.com

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