The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides #StaleTragedy? #wtf!

Nope, I haven’t read this one yet, but the synopsis captivated me. I’m forever surprised at some of the rock-bottom ratings from reviewers. One-star ratings should be reserved for the worst novels out there. Dislike the novel if you will, but numbers matter. This amazon review sets my teeth on edge:

…a small group of boys, now men, have wasted a half life in pondering over the seductive mystery of the Lisbon sisters…they return to the site of their youth to mourn a stale tragedy…they have devoted their entire lives to …”Who were the Lisbon girls?”… These men have wasted their lives peering back at an unchanging memory and an unanswerable question, leaving their own existence to decompose at the wayside.

What the heck is a “stale tragedy”–? My sister at almost-19 was murdered in 1975. All these years later, there’s nothing “stale” about it, cold case or not. Time does not heal all wounds. The scar tissue is anything but “stale.” We go on, because we must; we cope; we survive; but a tragic loss never loses its sharp edge or its capacity to sting again, fresh as the first day.

I was just listening to an old Bee Gees song  when The Virgin Suicides popped up in a comment box. So I looked it up:

The Virgin Suicides: A Novel Hardcover – April 1, 1993 by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Virgin Suicides (1999) Also a film by Sofia Coppola

Benjamin J Burgraff (Amazon VINE VOICE reviewer) says of the DVD,

‘The Virgin Suicides’ is a beautiful, understated, and tragic drama, punctuated by great rock music of the late ’70s, and featuring terrific performances, particularly by Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartlett, and a nearly unrecognizable Kathleen Turner. What makes the film even more remarkable is that it is the directorial debut by Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter, Sofia, best known prior to this by her less-than-stellar performance in ‘Godfather 3’! Her sensitivity with this material establishes her as a director to be reckoned with, and a true talent!
The film focuses on the five Lisbon sisters, beautiful, yet repressed by a religious and overly protective mother (Turner), who encourages their intellectual growth, but tries to block any sexual or emotional stirrings. The girls turn their passions into other channels, bonding tightly with one another, and viewing the world as outsiders. When the youngest attempts, then succeeds at killing herself, the family gains an unwanted notoriety, and a group of local boys begin to worship the remaining sisters from afar, gathering materials, and creating a fantasy world about them.

I’ll add The Virgin Suicides to my reading or movie-viewing list, but it may be something I would be better off avoiding.  Anyone out there think I need to see/read this one?


About carolkean

novelist, reviewer, editor, book critic for Liberty Island and Perihelion Science Fiction; native prairie/guerilla gardener; champion of liberty, indie authors & underdogs; one of the top two reviewers in Editors &Preditors Poll 2015; Amazon Vine, NetGalley Top Reviewer
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1 Response to The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides #StaleTragedy? #wtf!

  1. EE Giorgi says:

    I don’t know about this one, but I read Middlesex by Eugenides and while I had some issues with it (his genetics facts are wrong and toward the end there was a part that was a huge disappointment), I loved his writing immensely, to the point that he made me accept even the parts I would’ve normally found not believable. And I loved his references to Greek mythology. 😉


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