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Small Bodies

Wendy Brandmark, 5 August 1993

Theory of War 
by Joan Brady.
Deutsch, 209 pp., £14.99, January 1993, 0 233 38810 9
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The Virgin Suicides 
by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Bloomsbury, 250 pp., £15.99, June 1993, 0 7475 1466 6
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... the reader may feel what it means to lose one’s bearings, to be made less than human. In Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides the Lisbon sisters have taken the American dream of a life unblemished by experience to its extreme. Their suicide is an escape and a rebellion, the girls thwarting not only their parents and the boys who love them ...


Christopher Beha: Jeffrey Eugenides, 6 October 2011

The Marriage Plot 
by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Fourth Estate, 406 pp., £20, October 2011, 978 0 00 744129 7
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... to appear to be aggressively conventional. In his short, spare first novel, The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides used an elegiac first-person-plural narrative to turn the deaths of five suburban sisters into a myth of postwar American decay. His Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller Middlesex was much baggier, a mock-heroic family saga, though its ...

Small Crocus, Big Kick

Daniel Soar: Jeffrey Eugenides, 3 October 2002

by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Bloomsbury, 529 pp., £16.99, October 2002, 0 7475 6023 4
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... Cal will be a pseudo-hermaphrodite, suffering from 5-alpha-reductase deficiency syndrome. Jeffrey Eugenides does both background and foreground in all the necessary detail. He flips the switch from near to far; particularly telling moments encompass both, in artful combination. The oddest thing about the telling is that it’s all made ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Second Novel Anxiety Syndrome, 22 August 2002

... quid. The pubescent magic-magnate is also stumping up the cash for Middlesex, the second novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Virgin Suicides. (Note to aspiring bestsellerateurs: when it comes to the title, the formula is definite article, adjective, noun. Eugenides is bold to break the rule, particularly in the ...

How so very dear

Joshua Cohen: Ben Marcus, 21 June 2012

The Flame Alphabet: A Novel 
by Ben Marcus.
Granta, 289 pp., £16.99, June 2012, 978 1 84708 622 8
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... in an antique mode: the modern. Even those writers of his cohort, such as Jonathan Franzen and Jeffrey Eugenides, who publicly cursed the prophets Gaddis, Barthelme, Barth and Coover, forsaking the structural feints and syntactical feats of the 1960s and 1970s, would be mauled by the millennium, by a bearish market more interested in television and ...

Would I have heard of you?

Lauren Oyler: ‘The Female Persuasion’, 21 June 2018

The Female Persuasion 
by Meg Wolitzer.
Chatto, 464 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 78474 236 2
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... male.’ She doesn’t disguise that she too wants a spot up there. When novelists like Jeffrey Eugenides – who was in a writing workshop with Wolitzer at Brown – cover ‘perceived female subject matter’, they are taken seriously; their seriousness is signalled by the length of their novels as well as by the large letters on their covers ...

What’s wrong with that man?

Christian Lorentzen: Donald Antrim, 20 November 2014

The Emerald Light in the Air: Stories 
by Donald Antrim.
Granta, 158 pp., £12.99, November 2014, 978 1 84708 649 5
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... around his age that includes the late David Foster Wallace, George Saunders, Jonathan Franzen and Jeffrey Eugenides. There are a few things that set Antrim apart: he’s Southern; his strongest affinity to a writer in the previous generation is to Donald Barthelme, not Don DeLillo; he’s the least likely to be topical, to dramatise a few years’ close ...

No Magic, No Metaphor

Fredric Jameson: ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, 15 June 2017

... for the novel of adultery, its relation to the family speaks for itself. Someone, I think it was Jeffrey Eugenides, has claimed that the family novel today is only possible in the non-West, and I think there is a profound insight here. We may think of Mahfouz, for example, but I would argue that it is one of the greatest of all novels, the Chinese ...

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