I had the perfect book review in mind when I finished this book on a lovely Thursday afternoon at a coffee shop, right before I went for my afternoon job of the day. Then I got pissed ass drunk and did and said some stupid things and that fantastic review is nowhere to be found in my memory anymore. Just the stupid stupid things I did later that night, which ruined the rest of the week for me. Ugh.
Having said that though, this book is too beautiful not to write about it.
Jeffrey Eugenides is truly a literary genius. There aren’t many authors who can write on as many various subjects, nor with as a distinct style for each one as he does. Take worldly renowned authors (that I know of and have read) like Isabel Allende, Ken Follet, George R.R. Martin, Jodi Picoult, or even the mostly beloved (meaning I’m not included) Paolo Coelho, and so on. Their works are fabulous, sure, but they tend to dwell on similar subjects and emanate a distinct yet common style of writing. The first book I read by Eugenides was ‘Middlesex’. The theme and subject of the book was somewhat controversial and original, but he managed to paint it in such a beautiful yet down-to-earth way that you even get to wonder whether he is not the main character of the book. Then, it was ‘The Marriage Plot’, which left me amazed that I could actually like the book despite the lack of the perfect ending, which matters so much to me.
Without wanting to categorize these two books as ‘inferior’, I have to admit however, that ‘The Virgin Suicides’ is so far the best. The worst part is, I don’t know how to explain it. You just have to read it. How Eugenides manages to write about the suicide of five girls, all sisters, in a time span of a single year, in such an angelic (I had to refer to my good friend the Thesaurus for the word ‘beautiful’) manner, I will never know. Yet he does it.
What is it that makes this book so special? The innocent and naive curiosity of the ‘boys’ of the neighborhood towards the Lisbon sisters? The nonchalant and mysterious, yet distant air the sisters give off? I really can’t pinpoint one thing. I can’t even describe why I felt what I felt while reading this. I could go on and analyze the symbolism of the different elements in the book, but that would destroy the nature of the book. You’ll just have to read it. And even after that, all we could say to each other would be ‘Gosh that book is amazing’.