Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Virgin Suicides is a novel that isn't for the light hearted, or those sensitive to the ugliness of life. The book follows the demise of the seemingly perfect lives of the perfect Lisbon sisters, minus Cecilia the sister always considered as the "strange one." The wierd one who is often seen dressed in a wedding dress, despite her age, and collecting insects. The story is told from the observations of the many young boys that live next door and happen to be infatuated by Bonnie, Lux, Therese and Mary. Their stories tell of many incidents peering through windows to the girls sunbaking on thier lawns, awkward hormone fuelled exchanges and of profound conquering.

Reading the novel it feels somewhat wrong, that you should step in and help the Lisbon family as their daughters one by one dop away like flies. Their deaths a result of the contagious remnants of their first daughters suicide. Much speculation and blame is placed on the families strange behaviou, however none think to intervene.

Eugenides creates a compelling novel, one that would otherwise be put down but due to his masterful writing has become world renowned. He captures the raw ugliness of the families situation perfectly and creates the illusion of suicide being somewhat beautiful. The morals are all there, however there is no happy ending to those who are looking for one.

Due to the novels success it has also been transformed into a movie, directed by the famously alternative Sofia Coppola and starring a young Kirsten Dunst. I haven't yet attempted to watch the movie for fear that it will destroy all imagery I've created of the book. I'm sure though, if it's as good as any other Coppola film it will be amazing.

So if you're looking for a book that's slightly different from your usual heartbreak or vampire novels, but one that is still highly praised then this is the one. So look no further, this "sparkling work" (The Times) created by the "hypnotic storyteller" (Jay McInerey) Jeffrey Eugenides is a must read book. If it helps at all I am currently on my fourth time reading this novel, and it is still as enchanting and strange as the first time I read it. So do us all a favour, and pick it up and start reading!

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