Posted by: Corri van de Stege | June 7, 2009

Time, who says there is plenty of it?

I am reading.  Yes I am.  I’m halfway through Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.  And it’s like reading two different books.  One is about Desdemona and Lefty  escaping the Turkish massacre, their marriage at sea and their settlement in America.  Their hideous secret, the cause ultimately of Callie’s dilemma, or rather, her / his life.  The other is about Callie, the hermaphrodite, granddaughter  or is it grandson (?) of Desdemona and Lefty and daughter (or son) of Milton, their son, and Tessie, his cousin cum wife.  I think you probably get the drift of this.  It is an amazing book, really.  The story is mind boggling but believable and the writing is erudite and gripping. 

However, it’ s taking me a long time.  It’s not one of those books that you pick up one evening and finish the next weekend, give or take two train journeys.  And yes, I have been on train journeys, and car journeys, again.  Did I worry only recently about work and perhaps not having enough to do?  Well, all that’s changed.  I’ve been to Bradford, to London, to Nottingham and yes, Wales again.  I’m writing, but the wrong kind: reports.  Still it demands all my intellectual energy and so I am just not getting round to writing reviews, book reviews, or much of my own 51 stories.   Otherwise, I do a lot of writing!

Another thing I don’t do much of at the moment is looking at all your blogs, let alone reading them, what you are coming up with as far as your reading and writing is concerned.  But I will.  Promise. 

And then of course, spring is really here now.  There’s work to be done in the garden.  It’s juggling time: work, reading, writing, gardening…  Who could want for more?



  1. I read Middlesex a few years ago (pre-blogging so no review online 😦 ), and I loved it. Though I also know many people who didn’t like it at all. I guess Middlesex is one of those love or hate books with no middle way.

    I read The Virgin Suicides earlier this year. I enjoyed it a lot, but didn’t love it the way I loved Middlesex. That may have something to do with the fact that I read The Virgin Suicides during a flight which took off at 8 am (so I’d been awake since 5am). I felt I missed a lot in my reading because of that, so I am thinking about a re-read.

  2. I can relate to not having enough time- I do a lot of reading and writing but it’s all uni related rather than for fun!

    I was impressed by The Virgin Suicides, and am glad to hear you’re enjoying Middlesex. I still have it in my TBR pile. Tom @ A Common Reader has rekindled my interest in it recently, with his review of a non-fiction book about the destruction of Smyrna. Worth making the time for.

  3. Dear Sea, doesn’t the face of Spring make everything worthwhile? the longer days, the sweetness of the air? Oh, I hope you are enjoying the garden. Maybe a page or two of a book. I’m glad there is work. Its’ the usual thing of trying to work and play, isn’t it, but Spring makes it seem so much more do-able somehow.
    Hope all is well and that every one of your trips is superb in some way. And oh, you would laugh to see the tripe I am reading for pure escapism!!!

  4. Have requested Middlesex from the local library and will see if it fits into my love of “North American trash”…..hope all is well……

  5. I’m not reading Middlesex (yet) because I need some time off from plots involving massacre and violence, after some of the very substantial recent reads. I figure it cannot be a poor read given that Penguins has re-released it under the tab of modern classics.

  6. It’s great to read all your responses! The books has mesmerised me: I love most of it and feel (just slightly) disappointed by some of it!
    Myrthe: I’ve been looking at the Virgin Suicides and having finished Middlesex, will definitely give it a try – let’s be honest, there’s some really admirable writing going on here …
    A devoted reader: it’s a great book and well worth sitting down for, even if I still maintain it’s two different books, two different stories that have somehow or other been glued together… I’ll write a review and explain.
    Oh: I’m really getting into spring now and love and hate the garden at the same time: one, there are just too many weeds and they don’t care about what I think the garden should look like, and (2) I love all the flowers that do come up, even though I’d forgotten I ever planted them last year! Tells you how much of a gardener I am. But I do love it, yes!
    Linda: I’m just sure that you’ll love the intrigue and the life style of this family. Again, I think the first half of the book is all about one thing and then it suddenly switches to the main character, Callie, I don’t know which part I like best! But you will love both, tell me if you don’t!
    Matthew: the massacre is only at the beginning, it appears to be an introduction that provides the excuse for…, I won’t tell, just read the book 🙂

  7. I also really enjoyed reading most of Middlesex but for some reason which I now can’t remember I didn’t finish it. Perhaps I found it too long and the subject matter too anxiety-inducing? But that was a while ago. Anyway, glad to hear work is going well and that spring has finally arrived. Enjoy.

  8. I just finished that book recently, and despite my hesitations, I found myself really enjoying it. It was such a strange mix of different stories, and yet it all worked together nicely. But definitely not a quick read!

  9. Pete: it probably has got somehting to do with the fact that the book is really two books… There’s the story of Greeks emigrating and their immigrant status in America; and then there is this completely different story which is about Callie, the hermaphrodite who happens the be the granddaughter/son of the grandparents who left Greece….
    Kim: I also enjoyed it very much. And no, you need to take your time. Glad you liked it too.

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