Sunday, July 10, 2005

Best to get the preceding post below the fold, quick.

What a whiner I am. Despondency over shoddy housekeeping skills is a sure way to earn me a place in the Cry Me a River, Honey, Hall of Fame.

So. Here we are. NOT whining.

A few of you have asked me what I thought of Middlesex. I liked it, although I don't have a lot to say about it. What struck me most was my sense of futility in constructing an image of the narrator. One of the most basic cues I take from an author is the sex of the characters. For better or worse, I use that as a block on which to build my impressions and reactions. In Middlesex, the narrator is a pseudo-hermaphrodite; he has both male and female sex characteristics and was raised as a girl. As a teenager, though, he discovers his "diagnosis" and decides, against his physician's advice, to be male rather than female.

Perhaps since so much of the book recounts the narrator's childhood as a girl, that is primarily the sex I found myself visualizing, even of the narrator as an adult. References to the narrator's current life, as a buff, urbane man who dates women but has never had a serious relationship, knocked my perceptions off their axis. I never realized how ingrained that male-or-female dichotomy is for me. Intellectually I know that sexuality exists on a continuum, but emotionally I found myself a little unmoored by this book.

Hmm. On second thought, I think I do whining better than I do analysis.