Books From My Closet

"I Love Books The Way Some Girls Love Shoes"

Middlesex: Book 2

Image from the Prohibition Era of the 1920s-1930s

Hello My Dear Followers,

Well, I finished Book 2 and last night I thought about what I would say to my readers about Book 2. It spans a great amount of time, beginning with Desdemona and Lefty coming to this country and beginning their lives as Americans in Detroit, Michigan.  The narrator, Calliope or Callie or Cal, whatever you want to call him/her narrates the section best, so I thought it was only fair to just quote the passage that pretty much explains what happened. I will provide my commentary after. The section reverts back to the beginning of the book on the night Calliope is conceived and so begins he/she’s story.

“The thread began on a day two hundred and fifty years ago, when the biology Gods for their own amusement, monkeyed with a gene on a baby’s fifth chromosome. The baby passed the mutation on to her son, who passed it on to his two daughters, who passed it on to three of their children ( my great greats, etc) until finally it ended up in the bodies of my grandparents hitching a ride, the gene descended a mountain and left a village behind.  It got trapped in a burning building city and escaped, speaking bad French. Crossing the ocean, it faked a romance, circled a ship’s deck, and made love in a lifeboat.  It had its braids cut off. It took a train to Detroit and moved into a house on Hurlbut, it consulted dream books and opened an underground speakeasy; it got a job at Temp No. 1, and then the gene moved on again, into new bodies, it joined the Boy Scouts and painted its toenails red; it played “Begin and Beguine” out the back window; it took an entrance exam , posed like the move magazines, received a death sentence and made a deal with St. Christopher; it dated a future priest and broke off an engagement; it was saved by a bosom’s chair, always moving ahead, rushing along, only a few more curves left in the track now, Annapolis and a submarine chaser… until the biology gods knew this was their time, this what they’d been waiting for, and as a spoon swung and a yia yia worried, my destiny fell in place.”   (This is a direct quote from the book, a little long I know, but it is an excellent summary.)

That pretty much sums up the end of Book 1 and Book 2.  I think this book would make for an excellent movie, it’s the first book I have read in a long time that really allows you to escape to a different life and time. I haven’t done that in a long time.  I find I can relate to several aspects of this relating to the history of my own family coming to this country and starting a new life where language is a barrier.

My grandparents as I mentioned before met in this country, but both of them had immigrated from a life in Italy that was no longer suitable in hopes of living the American dream.  My grandparents like Desdemona and Lefty watched how a war-torn their country apart, living under the  dictatorship of Benito Mussolini. My grandmother told me she met or saw President Dwight D. Eisenhower as he traveled through her village of San Giorgio in Naples.

My grandfather told me his father came to this country before he was born during the time when Al Capone dictated the Mafia in Chicago and how his father who was once a wealthy man became poor.  These are just some of the stories that I have heard for years and years at the dinner table, while my grandmother was making sauce in the basement. My grandfather made a living using his talent as a tailor, my grandmother was a stay at home mother who only worked when she first arrived here.

I find it fascinating how a younger generation only learns of the events through their history books while some of our family members have actually lived what the books may not tell us.

I think this book so far, offers the reader a chance and live in the reality of these characters.  So until next time… Book 3 begins tonight!


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