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Narrated by: Kristoffer Tabori
Length: 21 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (9,599 ratings)

Regular price: $39.93

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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2003

In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry-blonde classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them - along with Callie's failure to develop physically - leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, she is not really a girl at all.

The explanation for this shocking state of affairs is a rare genetic mutation - and a guilty secret - that have followed Callie's grandparents from the crumbling Ottoman Empire to Prohibition-era Detroit and beyond, outlasting the glory days of the Motor City, the race riots of 1967, and the family's second migration, into the foreign country known as suburbia. Thanks to the gene, Callie is part girl, part boy. And even though the gene's epic travels have ended, her own odyssey has only begun.

Spanning eight decades - and one unusually awkward adolescence - Jeffrey Eugenides' long-awaited second novel is a grand, original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire.

©2002 Jeffrey Eugenides (P)2002 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

Critic Reviews

Audie Award Winner, Fiction (Unabridged), 2003

" "Impressive [and] wonderfully engaging." (The New York Times)
"Eugenides proves that he is not only a unique voice in modern literature but also well versed in the nature of the human heart. Highly recommended." (Library Journal )
"A towering achievement...a story that manages to be both illuminating and transcendent...[Eugenides] has emerged as the great American writer many of us suspected him of being." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"Not only are his interpretations of the characters astonishingly credible, but his internalization of the narrative is nothing short of amazing." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Worth Waiting It Out

I began listening to the book and about 15 minutes into it I was kicking myself for downloading a bummer of a book.

I thought I had erased it from my reader, but discovered it was still there one day when another book I'd been listening to was over. I was out and about and had nothing else to do so I listened to this one.... and another 30 minutes later I found it starting to grow on me.

That means it took nearly 45 minutes to get into this book, but once I did, I never looked back. I listened to the rest over the next couple of days, not wanting to take off the headphones unless I had to.

If you'd have asked me during the first 30 minutes, I'd have given you a rating of 2. AS it is I give it a rating of 4 and was glad I waited it out.

119 of 123 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Pulitzer Winning novel!

Few of the reviews I have read on have done justice to this magnificent narrative. "Middlesex", Jeffrey Eugenides second novel, tells the story of Calliope, a male-pseudo hermaphrodite. But the novel does not deal with a narrow political issue or become a polemic and gender or sex. Rather, the novel uses the narrator's peculiar genetic make-up (and Greek ancestry) to boil down humanity and find the common core we all share--love, sorrow, life, and death.

This novel is truly well written. Eugenides has a knack for weaving a fascinating story around historical events and changing social attitudes and customs. The narrative has just the right amount of digression--musing on such topics as race, Greek mythology and the history of Detroit. Though many authors try to use the technique of lingering of the details of a narrative, few succeed, and fewer still are able to make relevant digressions which build on the characters in the story. Eugenides succeeds at this admirably.

Though nearly so, the book is not perfect. There are times when the eccentricities of the characters become grating on the nerves, and times when such oddities seem unrealistic. But perhaps these flaws are meant to add the comic to this modern Greek tragedy. Another flaw, as I see it, of the production is the cheesy music thrown in at the most poignant moments of the narratives.

In all, this is an excellent production, and well worth the time and money. Another bonus is that listeners have the chance to listen to a Pulitzer winning narrative from an author who will likely produce other great novels (if you haven't read "The Virgin Suicides," by Eugenides, you should).

84 of 87 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ella
  • toronto,, Ontario, Canada
  • 06-04-07

Not exactly what I expected

I thought this book was going to be about a hermaphrodite. Although it was, the story involving Calliope Stephanides the main character in the book does not really come into play till approximately the last quarter of the book.
Instead, the book is a saga, starting back from Cal's grandparents and their journey out of Europe and to the US where Cal's parents come into play and finally Cal and his brother become part of the book. The journey is a fascinating one and quite enjoyable.
The narrator Kristoffer Tabori did a marvelous job reading and acting out this novel. It was long, but a good story, a difficult subject that was handled well.

36 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • Brooklyn , NY, USA
  • 05-04-03

Anything but middle.

I thouroughly enjoyed this novel both for it's content and narrator. I was packing to move, and once I got well enough into it, I lay on the couch for hours listening. Packing my apartment was delayed for three days. Eugenides' painstaking detail and insight unravel one human experience. It seemed as though I were listening to an autobiography. Tabori brought each character alive with distiction. I recommend.

187 of 197 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sheila
  • Loudonville, NY, USA
  • 05-26-03


I enjoy historical fiction and was interested in the setting of Grosse Pointe Michigan which I have visited. Thirty minutes into the tape I started to doubt my choice but decided to stick with it awhile longer. It was well worth it! Don't let the unusual subject matter deter you. This is a compelling story, beautifully written with an excellent narrator. It will linger on my mind for some time.

32 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Deborah
  • Phoenix, AZ, USA
  • 05-23-03


If you listen to this book while driving to or from work beware... You're going to wish you hit a traffic jam. This is one of the best Audiobooks I've ever listened to. At first I thought Kristoffer Tabori was the person who wrote the book. His accents, voices and naration are second to none. And the book itself deserves the best narration possible. This book will leave you laughing an crying. It will make you want to camp out in your car.

96 of 101 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Judith
  • Mechanicsburg, PA, USA
  • 06-07-03

very different type novel

My usual reading fare are mysteries, ie., Harry Bosh, Hercule Poirot, so when I started listening to "Middlesex" I wasn't sure I'd bother even downloading the next two tapes. However, the narrator had a way of capturing my reluctant attention. The interwinding of the past and present was done with such finesse that I barely noticed the flawless seams. The charactors were actually visible in my minds eye even though I did not always care for them. Although it is still not the "type" of book I would probably ever read again, I've found this one to be of excellent quality with superb narration.

36 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • Los Gatos, CA, USA
  • 06-24-03

Awesome combo of writer and reader

The book is fascinating, well-researched, many-faceted, entertaining, and immensely engrossing. The reader is a prolific actor with an impressive resume of non-starring roles who has an incredible talent for characterization, accents, attitudes, and, especially, effective storytelling. The audio quality is also top-notch. Is this maybe the best audiobook I've ever enjoyed? Absolutely!

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Entertaining

During the first few "pages" of this book i thought I would not be able to follow it because of the speed it was being read. Once the story got underway I was hooked. Don't let the suject matter of this book put you off. The charaters pull you into a world of Greek heritage and the lives of immigrants in the states. Any sexual reference is tastfully written. But if you have strong views against transgendered people I don't recomend you read this book. But then again perhaps you should.......

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Other people's skeleton closet

Excellent book. Of course, the reader is what makes it so good. Upon completion of this audio book, you will have received a lesson in Greek history, human physiology, and psychology. It is a little boring at the beginning, but when you get on the boat with yaya and papoo, you will start to experience one of the best audio rides you have ever taken. I've listened to about 100 audio books and this one ranks in my top 10!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful