Allison Banks, the long-divorced mother of a teenager on the cusp of college, has at last fallen in love. The object of her desire? Dana Stevens, a professor at the nearby university and her instructor for a summer film and literature course. Her daughter watches with pleasure her mother's newfound happiness, but Allison's ex-husband, Will, the president of Vermont Public Radio, is jealous. Still secretly in love with his ex-wife, he finds himself unsettled by the prospect of Allison's attachment to another man.
Yet Dana is unlike anyone Allison has ever been with: attentive, gentle, kind - and an exceptionally ardent lover. Moreover, it's clear that Dana cares just as deeply for Allison. The only stumbling block? Dana has known always that in actuality he is woman and he will soon be having a sex change operation.
At first Allison runs, but overwhelmed by the depth of her passions, she returns. Can the pair's love transcend both the biologic imperatives that are their bodies, as well as their ingrained notions of sexual preference? Moreover, can their love survive the outrage of the small community in which they live?
©2000 Chris Bohjalian; (P)2000 Random House, Inc. Random House AudioBooks, A Division of Random House, Inc.
I'm a longtime fan of Chris Bohjalian, and have relished all of his fiction. It's no surprise to me that this book received a quiet reception, since one of its central characters is trans-sexual -- a complicated and mis-understood phenomenon. Bohjalian doesn't shy away from exploring the full range of conflicts and questions that arise when Dana, a male professor, falls in love with Allison in the tiny town of Bartlett, VT -- and then announces that he's in the process of gender reassignment. The complexity of this relationship includes its effects on Allison, a school teacher, and the town's residents.
Allison's ex-husband, Will, and their daughter, Carly, are the other 2 characters that Bohjalian lends equal voice to as the novel shifts perspective over and over.
Judith Ivey has done a phenomenal reading: she uses slight "accents" to distiguish between the multiple characters' perspectives. She also has a knack for bringing Bohjalian's thoughtful prose to life.
Overall, this is one of the most compelling, intriguing books I've iPodded off of Audible. The timing of the story is just right, and the details and texture of its unfolding are satisfying. I didn't want it to end!
The one caution I would grant to possible listeners is that some people are sure to have trouble listening to a novel that so prominently features trans-sexuality. Personally, I enjoyed it because I have several trans-sexual friends and this book is a marvelous portrayal of the breadth of a TS character; it is never sensationalistic. You WILL learn a great deal through Bohjalian's characters, and so I encourage you to take the risk.
This is an excellent book, well read too. The story is intriguing with a man undergoing a sex change operation. But it is not clincal. There are numerous relationships with his girlfriend prior to the surgery and afterwards. One learns to view these people as people and the feelings that they have. The inclusion of fake NPR segments give the book added punch. It is a hard book to put down and I highly recommend it.
This one kept me interested from beginning to end. I would have listened to the whole book in one sitting if I could. As a straight man, it always intrigues me that some guys undergo sexual reassignment surgery, the steps they take and why they do it. I respect anybody who isn't afraid to be who they are despite all the shallow minded people in society.
This story is beautifully written about a subject in which I have no firsthand knowledge. I definitely develop some compassion. I Love the way the author use the NPR format and I very much enjoyed the narrator. My only peeve is that Dana is from Miami and has a heavy southern accent. Truth is Dana should either have a New York accent or a South American. Why the mother has no accent at all is also odd. Nonetheless, quite enjoyable.
I bought this book because someone at work whose office is near mine is in the process of this transition. I was hoping this book would give me a better understanding of the issues and it did achieve that goal. The characters were pretty good and likeable, I just did not love the ending which seemed a bit sudden and implausible.
Middlesex - both books about topics most people know nothing about and rarely think about.
Overall the narrator did a good job
Reading allows me to travel through time; to visit the world's unique and stunning places. To become somebody I am not... It is glorious.
I absolutely loved this book. It is authentic, deep and complicated. The latter is appropriate because the central character is male to female transsexual. Many are uncomfortable with the idea of transsexuals and see it as a choice made by the individual - a choice that is misguided and wrong; a choice that is even offensive. In this book Mr Bohjalian attacks the subject with no identifiable prejudice. He allows the character to stand for herself. He allows her to explain for herself. It is rich and hued. Dana is smart, open and fascinating.
This was my first read of a Bohjalian novel, so I don't know whether the following is normal for him, but I found the way this book was written to be interesting. The story unfolds in the third person, told by multiple characters. It gives the story depth and allows the reader to know Dana better. It gives the story legitimacy.
My guess is that if you buy this book you already have an open mind about the LGBTQ community. And, if you don't but you take a risk, that you may find yourself reconsidering your opinion. I highly recommend that you read it.
Why ever would I do that?
Midwives equals EXCELLENCE
Trans-Sister Radio equals WASTE OF TIME
Read Midwives TWICE ... you'll love your time investmenrt!
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