The Virgin Suicides is the debut novel by American writer Jeffrey Eugenides. The fictional The book's first chapter appeared in The Paris Review in , and won the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction. Eugenides told 3am Magazine: "I. The Virgin Suicides book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The shocking thing about the girls was how nearly normal the. The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides's dreamy debut novel about five that it had a big anniversary coming up; I was just in-between books.
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First published in , The Virgin Suicides announced the arrival of a major new American novelist Author interviews, book reviews, editors' picks, and more. Emma Cline on “The Virgin Suicides,” by Jeffry Eugenides, and the and obsessions of being a teen-ager somehow rendered into book form. First published in , The Virgin Suicides announced the arrival of a major new American novelist. In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon.
The story is about the five Lisbon sisters. They all commited suicide. After the suicide of Cecilia, the other sisters behaved more and more stranger.
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The sisters tried to find a way out of the house. They felt lonely and they saw only one way out: What does the author want to make clear with the book? The Lisbon family had no contact with each other.
Each member lived in their own world. And because there was no communication in the house, the members felt lonely and desperated. So I think that the author want to make clear that communication in a family is so important, otherwise it makes people sick, unhappy or depressed.
Books worth re-reading: The Virgin Suicides
Where does the story take place? The Lisbon Family lives in a little and a quiet village. The story takes place in the house of the Lisbon family and in the neighborhood. The story also takes place at the school of the Lisbon girls. Their father, Mr. Lisbon, works at the school as a maths teacher. When does the story take place? The story take place in the 70s. Fiction or no-fiction or mixture of both. Fiction, but it can be based on a true story.
The main characters. He has five daughters. He is a maths teacher at the school of his daughters. He gives his daughters a strict christian adjucation, but he is also a sensetive father.
She has together with Mr. Lisbon five daughters. Lisbon girls: Cecilia 13 , Lux 14 , Bonnie 15 , Mary 16 and Therese They all lived in their own world, and each of them were different. Lux became very violent after the death of her youngest sister Cicilia. And after she came home too late and drunk, she and the other girls got punished. Cause of her behaviour the other girls got punishment too and that was the reason they saw only one way out: Lux smoked cigarettes, what her parents had forbidden.
But Lux was also the most secure girl of the Lisbon girls. About Mary is told the least. Therese, the oldest, loved science. Bonnie was very insecure. She always went to music camps to play instruments, but by one instrument her hands were too small and by another instrument her lips swelled. Cecilia, the youngest, commited suicide the first. She had a diary but in her diary was nothing remarkable for her suicide.
She was very quiet. She had problems with the puberty and that was maybe the reason she commited suicide. Trip Fontaine: He is the most popular boy at the school of the Lisbon girls. He invited Lux to join him at the schoolball. Paul Baldino: He is the boy who found Cecilia death in the bathroom. From that moment on everything went wrong. Lisbon protected their girls more. But that was wrong. The girls felt more and more lonely and they saw only one way out: Genre and style The genre of the book The genre of the book is a novel.
What is the construction of the story? The story is written in five chapters. Who is the narrator? The story is told by an anonymous narrator in the first person plural. He is one of the boys who were obsessed over the Lisbon girls. The narrotor looks back on the time that the boys knew and loved the Lisbon girls.
The book isn't without its flaws. Such a topic is dark even without the graphic details in the story, and the novel never loses that undercurrent of foreboding. And you can't miss that the book is written solely via the male gaze.
Why do the girls never try to free themselves?
Nothing impedes the girls' withdrawal from the world, and so the question remains unanswered, frustrating the reader. And our view of their lives are warped by our almost unreliable narrators who cling to memories; merely snapshots of the girls and their irresistible allure, rather than seeing them as true people. There is no resonating conclusions, only darkly beautiful intangibility.
The demise of the Lisbon sisters was almost meant to be, nothing suggests they could have escaped their end, yet we stay firmly put in a romanticised, mythical and tragic reality - in this way too, it's the girls who hold the power. And like all moving pieces of art, it stays in the subconscious; the girls' lives haunted and unsettled - the same as the narrators.
Twenty-five years on, I'm not sure it would be written and received as glowingly as it was originally, but the nostalgia, the intense regret and wasted loss of life of these women remains profound. See lighthousecinema.
Something that I very much loved about the book and that lacks from the film , are the moments when the boys realize not only that the Lisbon girls are unique entities, but that they're not perfect. One's even described as "horsey". I love that. I love it when people fall in love with real people. People with big foreheads, or big noses. People with crowded smiles. I love the narrator. Worringly obsessed especially considering the time that's passed though he may be, it really feels like someone is telling you something true.
It's the kind of story you would tell for decades had you lived to see it, and I like to think it actually happened in a town not far from where I grew up, years before I was born, a story I'd hear from locals, never quite sure how much of it was true, and how much had become local legend.
View all 8 comments. I struggled with this book. On several levels. This narrative is told through the point of view of the boys around the girls. It purposefully fetishizes the pain and trauma of the five, attempting to critique this same fetishization. We barely know the tragedy of Cecilia I struggled with this book. We barely know the tragedy of Cecilia, but she herself is almost erased by the male narrators, who make her death into a case they can solve via the exhibits.
They treat her death as true crime, not a true tragedy, and thus fail to solve any mystery at all. They must learn to see the girls as actual human beings. This critique works, to some extent; it is the sisters themselves where the book falls apart. The five suicidal virgin sisters are, despite incidental moments of characterization, a monolith; they are used as representations of some deeper societal problem, rather than people. They are at once sexualized and devoid of sexuality; their deaths are fetishized to such a degree by the lead group of boys that they cease to exist at all.
In other words, the five sisters are at once given agency, and then have their agency taken away by a narrative that refuses them any room to tell their own stories. I believe the authorial intent here may have been the former; the result, to me, is the latter. This is not an uncommon problem in media; I actually read this for a class on concepts of adolescence in which we also watched Rebel Without a Cause , and yep, the father in that is overly feminine, too.
There is some good here; a discussion on the ways teachers attempt to deal with the suicide is well-done, and a scene in which the Reverend equates suicide with not winning title game is both hilarious and deeply sad. The imagery around the decay of the house is compelling. I also want to acknowledge that this was a good deal more revolutionary when it was written in Blog Goodreads Twitter Instagram Youtube Published in , his debut is a literary narcotic that may thrill or disinterest readers based on their level of dependency to words.
I found it to be a mindless drug that took me into a world where electrifying imagination and intoxicating prose mingle with some of the most obnoxious and far-fetched melodrama I've encountered in a book. In a fictional world where anything can The Virgin Suicides is the first novel from Jeffrey Eugenides, who'd win a Pulitzer Prize for his follow-up Middlesex.
In a fictional world where anything can happen, nothing there makes any real difference, making it difficult for me to care about the book even while it was often thrilling me.
Set in the s in a suburb of Detroit, the novel is the first person account of an unnamed narrator who seems to have been a teenage boy once, and who like many of his friends, is obsessed with the secrets of the enigmatic Lisbon girls, five aloof sisters who we're told very early on, in case the title didn't spoil it, take their own lives. Cecilia 13 , Lux 14 , Bonnie 15 , Mary 16 and Therese 17 are revealed from afar, either through windows or in corners at school, or from accounts those close to them reveal to the narrator over the years.
It all starts when Cecilia opens her wrist in the bathtub and is rushed to the hospital. Paramedics find Cecilia clutching a laminated photo of the Virgin Mary. While her mother, an antisocial Protestant, and her father, an enthusiastic high school math teacher, offer no clues, the popular theory to Cecilia's suicide attempt blames a teenager named Dominic Palazzolo, a Catholic who lovesick over an unrequited love and pissed off at the Holy Mother, leaps off a roof in an act of desperation.
Cecilia witnesses this, along with the narrator and his friends, who are incredulous when upon Cecilia's return, they receive party invitations from the Lisbon girls. Only one of their peers, a boy named Peter Sissen, has seen the inside of the home before.
Then the night arrived. In blue blazers, with khaki trousers and clip-on neckties, we walked along the sidewalk in front of the Lisbon house as we had so many times before, but this time we turned up the walk, and climbed the front steps between the pots of red geraniums, and rang the doorbell.
Peter Sissen acted as our leader, and even looked slightly bored, saying again and again, "Wait'll you see this. Above us, the face of Mrs. Lisbon took form in the dimness. She told us to come in, we bumped against each other getting through the doorway, and as soon as we set foot on the hooked rug in the foyer we saw that Peter Sissen's descriptions of the house had been all wrong. Instead of a heady atmosphere of feminine chaos, we found the house to be a tidy, dry-looking place that smelled faintly of stale popcorn.
A piece of needle-point saying "Bless This Home" was framed over the arch, and to the right, on a shelf above the radiator, five pairs of bronzed baby shoes preserved for all time the unstimulating stage of the Lisbon girls' infancy. The dining room was full of stark colonial furniture. One wall had a painting of Pilgrims plucking a turkey. The living room revealed orange carpeting and a brown vinyl sofa. Lisbon's La-Z-Boy flanked a small table on which sat the partially completed model of a sailing ship, without rigging and with the busty mermaid on the prow painted over.
Cecilia remains withdrawn during the basement party and asking her mother to be dismissed, goes upstairs, where she throws herself from her window and onto the iron spikes of the fence below. She leaves no note and her diary, which ends up in the hands of the narrator, offers no clues as to why she'd kill herself. Cecilia has a funeral, but due to a funeral workers' strike, her body is kept chilled at the mortuary.
The obsession the narrator and his friends share for the surviving Lisbon girls only intensifies. Mr Lisbon exhibits strange behavior, talking to the spider plants at school and refusing to open up to the priest or his fellow teachers. Their hope in cracking the mysteries of the Lisbon girls comes in Trip Fontaine, an unlikely Lothario lusted after by girls who eagerly come over to help him cram for exams and their mothers, who shamelessly offer Trip baked goods. While Trip keeps intimate details of his sexual triumphs confidential, or possibly forgets them in a haze of marijuana, he is smitten when he stumbles into the wrong history class and encounters Lux Lisbon.
Determined to ask her out, Trip walks into Mr. Lisbon's class and asks her father for permission to take Lux to Homecoming, offering to have three of his friends accompany the remaining Lisbon girls to the dance as well.
Trip utilizes diplomacy to select his three wing-men and the quadruple date goes off much better than expected for all involved, until Lux disappears with Trip and stays out two and a half hours past her 11 o'clock curfew. Lisbon initiates a crackdown that results in all four schools being pulled from school, in order to "grieve" for their sister in peace. Lux is observed by the narrator copulating with boys on her roof.
She fakes a burst appendix to be rushed to the hospital, where Lux asks the doctor for a pregnancy test. One medical opinion holds the Lisbon girls are acting out grief over their dead sister by mimicking her tragic behavior. As it circulated in the next few months, this theory convinced many people because it simplified things. Already Cecilia's suicide had assumed in retrospect the stature of a long-prophesied event.
Nobody thought it shocking anymore, and accepting it as First Cause removed any need for further explanation. As Mr. Hutch put it, "They made Cecilia out to be the bad guy. In the bathtub, cooking in the broth of her own blood, Cecilia had released an airborne virus which the other girls, even in coming to save her, had contracted.
No one cared how Cecilia had caught the virus in the first place. Transmission became explanation. The other girls, safe in their own rooms, had smelled something strange, sniffed the air, but ignored it. Black tendrils of smoke had crept under their doors, rising up behind their studious backs to form the evil shapes smoke or shadow take on in cartoons: Contagious suicide made it palpable.
Spiky bacteria lodged in the agar of the girls' throats. In the morning, a soft oral thrush had sprouted over their tonsils. The girls felt sluggish. At the window the world's light seemed dimmed. They rubbed their eyes to no avail. They felt heavy, slow-witted. Household objects lost meaning. A bedside clock became a hunk of molded plastic, telling something called time, in a world marking its passage for some reason.
When we thought of the girls along these lines, it was feverish creatures, exhaling soupy breath, succumbing day by day in their isolated ward. We went outside with our hair wet in the hopes of catching flu ourselves so that we might share their delirium. It takes place in an American suburb that resembles a real one, the way impressively but hastily constructed facades on a film location resemble a wild west town if you aren't really paying close attention.
In this world, a teenage narrator with no name and seemingly no life of his own fills hour upon hour spying on the Lisbons, who seem to oblige by walking in front of windows a lot. Lux obliges him and others by having sex on top of her roof. Eugenides records it all in dizzying prose that is amazingly detailed, often acidic and sometimes baffling.
In fact, despite her convulsions she was clutching her stomach , Lux had dared to put on a coat of the forbidden pink lipstick that tasted--so the boys on the roof told us--like strawberries. Woody Clabault's sister had the same brand, and once, after we got into his parents' liquor cabinet, we made him put on the lipstick and kiss each one of us that we, too, would know what it tasted like.
Beyond the flavor of the drinks we improvised that night--part ginger ale, part bourbon, part lime juice, part scotch--we could taste the strawberry wax on Woody Clabault's lips, transforming them, before the artificial fireplace, into Lux's own.
Rock music blared from the tape player; we threw ourselves about in chairs, bodilessly floating to the couch from time to time to dip our heads into the strawberry vat, but the next day we refused to remember that any of this had happened, and even now it's the first time we've spoken of it.
At any rate, the memory of that night was superseded by that of Lux's being hoisted into the EMS truck, because, despite discrepancies of times and space, it was Lux's lips we tasted, not Clabault's.
Teenagers don't behave like this, share information like this or surround themselves with nearly as much drama as this, with not only one suicide, but five in one house.
Eugenides is on solid ground with Trip Fontaine, a terrific character who electrifies the book. This was also the case with the film adaptation, the feature directing debut of Sofia Coppola that featured Josh Hartnett as Trip. Trip's engineering of a quadruple date with four sisters who've lost a sibling could've been the heart of a coherent novel, a subtle one, with his character narrating a story that hued closer to reality.
This one is a wild kingdom that while impressive, needed more work in the editing stage than it got. View all 17 comments. Influenced by a chance conversation with a babysitter, who told him how as teenagers she and her sisters all attempted to take their own lives, Eugenides has fashioned an eccentric, often amusing, and dreamy American fantasy, set within the leafy suburb of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a place where he spent his own years growing up. Having ignored other reviews, and going into this knowing absolutely nothing, my concerns this was going to be a rather dark affair were quickly brushed aside, as it's a Influenced by a chance conversation with a babysitter, who told him how as teenagers she and her sisters all attempted to take their own lives, Eugenides has fashioned an eccentric, often amusing, and dreamy American fantasy, set within the leafy suburb of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a place where he spent his own years growing up.
Having ignored other reviews, and going into this knowing absolutely nothing, my concerns this was going to be a rather dark affair were quickly brushed aside, as it's a time where some of us get the January blues the last thing I wanted was to be wallowing in the pits of despair reading a novel about suicide.
Thankfully, Eugenides doesn't focus so much on suicide, but more along the lines of unrequited love, whilst also having an assured heartfelt nostalgia pumping through his veins. Like suburban archaeologists, the narrators a group of middle-aged men piece together memories from twenty years previous, and their fixation with five sisters. And it's like mentally ploughing through a rubbish tip of evidence - diaries, snapshots, dried-out cosmetics, sanitary towels, soap dishes.
Anything to help better understand the sisters, of whom they didn't really properly know. Searching for some sort of explanation as to 'why' what happened, happened. They interview former neighbours, friends, teachers, dazed and divorced parents coasting through life, they collate gossip, but, still the answers to questions remain an enigma. All this is described in a tone that is both elegiac and comic. The five sisters - Therese, Mary, Bonnie, Lux, and Cecilia remain a mystery throughout, one thing we do know is that they live sheltered lives under the thumb of their tyrannical, disturbed mother, and the sympathetic but docile father, who is a maths teacher.
In an ordinary suburban world of lawnmowers and barbecues, the girls somehow represent the extraordinary, as well as the odd, the inexplicable, and the romantically extreme.
There were pondering thoughts of - why the girls don't rebel?. Why don't they reach out to friends, or run away from home?
Why don't the authorities insist that they go to school? What has driven their mother to impose such a strict regime in the first place?
Such obvious thoughts are never addressed by Eugenides, and his willful ignoring of these issues can grate on the reader's nerves, momentarily breaking the spell of his tale. Although his powers of observation are startling and acute, in small pockets, I found the narrative, and I hate to say this, a bit of a chore. As debut novels go, Eugenides does write with a swaggering confidence, not like a literary virgin, making this seem like it was his tenth novel and not his first.
The Virgin Suicides cleverly fakes being a book about teen suicide, as its real exploration is into the delicate dynamics that keep a family together. One striking aspect of the novel that didn't occur until later is that it relies entirely on the male gaze.
Unfortunately for me, the narrators appear in an overly romantic deluded way.
“Eugene’s little secret? He wanted to be beautiful. If that didn’t work, noticeable would do.”
Not soppy or cheezy, just a little too exaggerated and goofy. One thing I can't fault is its creatively original nature. But I would still be surprised if it lingers around in my thoughts for more than a day.
La verdad es que me he pensado darle esta nota. Pero han parecido meses. Y esa es la magia de la novela. Es una novela que estudia muchas cosas: Me gusta que un autor tenga esa magia. Y en este caso, es magia de verdad, sin trucos.
View all 3 comments. May 13, B the BookAddict rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Sometimes, you just know when you have found a truly great novelist and Jeffrey Eugenides is one such novelist. I initially rated this book four stars but no, it deserves a five star rating. And where have I been since ? On some desert island?
How did I not possibly know of this wonderful gem of a book? Mr Eugenides has shot onto my favourite author list and I've ordered Middlesex and The Marriage Plot from my bookseller.
This is a haunting, dreamlike, atmospheric and raw novel. Told from th Sometimes, you just know when you have found a truly great novelist and Jeffrey Eugenides is one such novelist. Told from the viewpoint of five men now in their thirties. They recount one year some twenty years earlier and the obsession they had with a family of girls; an obsession which haunts them even in their adult years.
It begins with the suicide of the youngest girl; the precursor to the preoccupation the boys have with the Lisbon sisters. This is a tale of the atrophy of the Lisbon family; the gradual breakdown of their tenuous lives over the course of 13 months. And it's basically neighbourhood story; Michigan in the 's, one street, one year, five girls and the neighbouring boys. The story is told interestingly in plural first person narration by the boys. The sisters are a mystery to the boys then and still some twenty years later where the memory still haunts them.
The girls actually remain a bit of a mystery to the reader partly because you never actually hear from their viewpoint. They appear wraith-like and mystical to both reader and narrators.
Cecilia, Bonnie, Mary, Therese and Lux have lived cloistered lives. Although they attend the same school as the boys, they keep to themselves; appear unusual and different from the other pupils. The boys have almost a reverent need to know; it seems driven by a pure want to be close to the girls. They start collecting what will be an extensive cache of what they term as exhibits including Cecilia's journal, a faded polariod, Lux's bra and Bonnie's votive candles.
Insights other than the boys' own are recounted as the narrators later seek out various neighbours, other pupils, parents and teachers. Although, as they discover, this knowledge will do little to uncover the riddle of the elusive Lisbon girls.
The book is light on dialogue and rich with description; delicious detail, detail, detail. Eugenides creates an ethereal, persistent, intriguing mood. It is surrealistic and lingers with you long after you have put the book down. View all 4 comments. June I've lost track of how many times I've read this. This time I listened to the audiobook and I freaking loved it!
There's a reason why this is my favourite book. The story is tragic and sad but so beautiful. I love the writing and the narration. I have never re-read a book this many times and I still wanna re-read it.
I managed to catch some m June I've lost track of how many times I've read this. I managed to catch some more things I didn't catch before. The characters in this book are so well developed.
This book has so much depth to it and I love it to pieces. September 2nd TW: It's such a powerful book full of grief and sorrow.
It's incredible sad, mystical in ways, also with an interesting narrative. The five Lisbon daughters all commit suicide, and we follow some boys who live across the street that watch them and obsess with there lives. For the daughters, first we have Cecilia, who is the youngest child.
She is 13 years old and the first to go, she is known as the odd sibling.I had ruined Ms. Adapted into a critically acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola, The Virgin Suicides is a modern classic, a lyrical and timeless tale of sex and suicide that transforms and mythologizes suburban middle-American life. Great Fire Shirley Hazzard.
Lux "They found her in the front seat, grey faced and serene, holding a cigarette lighter that had burned its coils into her palm" Eugenides But they claim to be secretly still in love with all of them despite being middle aged men and having families of their own now.
The narrators are both elegiac and mordant, dipping in and out of lives, moments, acting as the collective consciousness of an entire neighborhood. English ISBN The reader recognizes this by the end, even if the narrators cannot and do not. She attempts Suicide by slitting her wrist in the bathtub but is unsuccessful.
Mary Lisbon, age sixteen, is prim, proper, poised, and spends hours in front of the mirror.
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