“A rollicking family epic like no other, Middlesex follows three generations of the Stephanides family from 1920’s Greece to Detroit in the mid to late 20th century to contemporary Berlin. Brother and sister Lefty and Desdemona flee a crumbling Ottoman Empire in 1922; by the time their ship docks in New York they are husband and wife. The narrator of this funny and humane tale is their grandchild Cal, who as a result of their unusual liaison was born a girl but grows into a man.”
Sounds bizarre right? Not exactly a quaint story about the English countryside, but perhaps that is exactly what makes this such a compelling and compassionate novel. The historical time periods spanned by this intricate story are as rich and enchanting as they are shocking and horrific. As a reader I travelled through time alongside the Stephanides family and through the focalisation of Cal, explored the complex nature of transition, identity, belonging and the way the past always seems to come back. It is about heritage and loss, growing up and healing, discrimination and acceptance, success and poverty. A beautiful story full of humour and tragedy. Learned a lot and loved it.