The Virgin Suicides- Jeffrey Eugenides

This book was read as part of The Rory List

Synopsis (from amazon)

The shocking thing about the girls was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their lives. Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux; the sisters’ breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives disappear.


After loving Middlesex, the first book I read by Eugenides, I added The Virgin Suicides to my wishlist. It wasn’t something that had really appealed to me before, it sounded a bit depressing to be honest. I had heard that it was good but it took another book by him to make me actually want to read it.

It wasn’t really that disturbing however. In fact the actual suicides took up only a tiny fraction of the books. They still weren’t exactly the most pleasant thing to read about but they were more upsetting from their consequences than for themselves.

It’s not really a story about the girl’s suicides as such. It’s an important factor, but really it’s about a community. Everyone seems to be obsessed with the sisters, even before the suicides start. There’s a sort of shared experience there, with everyone wanting to know as much about the girls as they can, and sharing all the knowledge they have.

There is a certain element of how the suicides effect the family, and the wider community, but the incidents are never really looked into in that great a detail. There is some wondering about why the suicides happened, but once a theory is suggested everyone just seems to go with it, even though it never really fully explains why what happened happened.

I did enjoy The Virgin Suicides. It still had the same beauty of writing, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Middlesex. Maybe because I didn’t really feel I got to know the characters that well. I felt I got to know them in the same way as you might get to know someone who you see everyday, and might speak to, but isn’t your friend. Maybe that was Eugenides intention seeing as that was how the boys knew the girls really.


Buy it:

Paperback (£6.74)

Other Reviews:

Alone. Together. Fact. Fiction

So Many Books, So Little Time

Reading is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac

Have I missed your review? Leave a link in comments and I will add it here


P.S Out of interest has anyone watched the film? Is it any good?


Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Literary

11 responses to “The Virgin Suicides- Jeffrey Eugenides

  1. I liked the film, but of course the novel is better. The film is very typical Sofia Coppola if you watched any of her other movies. It’s very beautiful to watch, much like Marie Antoinette (if you’ve seen that one).


  2. I’ve seen Lost in Translation, and that was good, so hopefully I would enjoy The Virgin Suicides too.


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  4. I really enjoyed this book but like you, I think I prefer Middlesex.


  5. I love the film but then I’ve not (yet) read the book. From your review I’d say the film’s pretty faithful.


  6. I hope you’re right. I tend to find that when there are too many difference I can’t enjoy the film, not even as a film independently from the book.


  7. Have you read The Marriage Plot? I’m hoping to read that one this year.


  8. Yes, I liked it but I didn’t love it. I think Middlesex set the bar so high that it would be hard for anything to be quite as good as that!


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